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.