The New England Wind SODAR wind monitoring project was launched yesterday in Armidale by Adam Marshall, NSW MP for Northern Tablelands. The crowd in attendance was able to view the new technology to be used over the next twelve months in New England.
New England Wind (NEW) is at the forefront of an exciting new national wind monitoring program for community windfarms, using state-of-the-art SODAR technology.
“New England Wind is pleased to be the first community windfarm project in Australia to secure use of this state-of-the-art SODAR wind monitoring technology,” said Dr Chris Blanksby, NEW Technical Director. “We are today launching a year-long project of collecting wind speed data for several possible windfarm sites throughout the New England high country.”
The SODAR unit has been purchased by Embark Australia on behalf of the community windfarm sector, which was made possible with substantial donations from several philanthropists together with securing the first year's rental of the unit to New England Wind. In addition, the project was supported by Fulcrum3D and Epuron who provided the SODAR unit and their services at a discounted rate.
“In concert with New England Wind's project, Embark is today announcing the launch of a new national wind monitoring program,” said Andy Cavanagh-Downs, Executive Director of Embark. “The availability of the SODAR unit presents a real step-change for community windfarm groups by halving the cost as well as greatly simplifying the task of wind monitoring for their projects.”
New England Wind has received $43,000 funding for their project from the NSW Government as part of the Office of Environment & Heritage Growing Community Energy Program.
The project was officially launched by Adam Marshall, NSW MP for the Northern Tablelands. “Projects such as New England Wind highlight the significant level of community support for renewable energy,” said Marshall. “The NSW Government recognises the importance of enabling and working with this growing community energy sector. More broadly, we also recognise and support the very significant opportunity that renewable energy represents for genuine sustainable development in this region.”
The SODAR ~ SOnic Detection And Ranging ~ is a trailer mounted device that uses sound, reflected off the atmosphere, to measure wind speed and direction at varying heights up to around 200m (which covers the height of modern wind turbines). It is an affordable and reliable method of wind monitoring which provides sufficiently accurate data for pre-feasibility site assessments.
“New England Wind is proud to be at the beginning of what is likely to be a ten-year long program by Embark supporting community windfarm projects right across the country,” added Blanksby.
New England Wind is working to establish a community windfarm in the New England High Country. The vision is that a small windfarm of some 3-6 turbines could produce the equivalent of around half the residential electricity use of the region and provide lasting environmental, social and financial benefits.