Gamesa now teams up with Catch The Wind

Catch The Wind Inc. is on a roll.  It was only last month that it announced a large field trial of its Vindicator wind sensor with Canadian Hydro Developers, Canada’s largest independent wind developer. To follow that up, it is now reporting the formation of a collaborative R&D project with Gamesa, Spain’s biggest wind-turbine manufacturer and one of the top manufacturers in the world. Just to recap, the Vindicator is a sensor that can detect wind speeds and direction up to 1,000 metres away, giving a wind turbine’s control system enough time to adjust blades and nacelle position accordingly. Over time, this improves the efficiency of the turbine and reduces wear on components and blades. Gamesa has agreed to mount the Vindicator on one of its operating 2-megawatt turbines at a yet-to-be-announced wind farm in the United States. Phil Rogers, Catch The Wind’s CEO, called the partnership a “significant breakthrough.”

It’s often said there’s not much more innovation that can take place around wind technology, aside from tinkering at the edges, and that the big manufacturers have no incentive to change a formula works. But this teaming up of Gamesa and Catch The Wind shows that innovation is alive and strong and that even the majors, like Gamesa, are looking for ways to distinguish themselves in the market. Complacency is no longer an option. Others, including WhalePower, ExRo Technologies, Earthtronics, FloDesign, and secretive Lancaster Wind Energy are also raising the bar on what we can expect from wind technology over the coming years.

2 thoughts on “Gamesa now teams up with Catch The Wind”

  1. Hi Tyler,

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  2. Catch the Wind, Whalepower, and ExRo look like at least promising approaches, and likely significant developments over a short timeframe. Combined they may make some serious advancements in wind energy performance and cost reductions possible.

    But the Earthronics approach doesn’t seem all that great. 6000 USD for a turbine that delivers 2000 – 3000 kWh/year isn’t very competitive. The average US retail rate is about 10 cents/kWh. So that’s 0.10 USD * 2000 – 3000 = 200 to 300 dollars per year. That’s a 20 to 30 year simple payback time , way too long even if the system would last that long.

    This would only make sense in extremely high wind areas with very high average retail rates.

    FloDesign doesn’t look useful either. Reducing the swept area negates any efficiency advantage they can possibly claim, given the fact that large multi MW class three bladed turbines already get pretty close to Betz limit (they get 30 – 50%, max theoretical is about 60%). Reducing the swept area is a stupid strategy for a large wind turbine.

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