The SWiFT facility comprises three heavily instrumented and modified variable-speed, variable-pitch Vestas V27 turbines and two 60 m anemometer towers, with the first two turbines spaced three diameters apart, perpendicular to the prevailing oncoming wind, and the third turbine five diameters downwind (the turbines form a three, five-, six-rotor-diameter-length triangle). Two turbines are funded by DOE-EERE; the third turbine was installed by Vestas R&D of Houston, Texas.

The SWiFT facility comprises three heavily instrumented and modified variable-speed, variable-pitch Vestas V27 turbines and two 60 m anemometer towers, with the first two turbines spaced three diameters apart, perpendicular to the prevailing oncoming wind, and the third turbine five diameters downwind (the turbines form a three, five-, six-rotor-diameter-length triangle). Two turbines are funded by DOE-EERE; the third turbine was installed by Vestas R&D of Houston, Texas.

This past summer, activities at the DOE/SNL Scaled Wind-Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility picked up in preparation for an enhanced, more-efficient site—enabling advanced research to be executed with more rigor. As part of the update, we welcomed Dave Mitchell, the SWiFT site manager, as a permanently stationed Sandia staff member in Lubbock, Texas. Dave is responsible for day to day operations of the facility.

A comprehensive design review was completed, which progressed the facility toward operations by August. An improved safety program for the facility was reviewed by staff from SNL, NREL, DNV-GL, Westergaard Solutions, and Vestas. The safety program improves hardware safety systems, the control-system development process, and operating procedures to support the future needs of the DOE Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO) Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e) program and partnership projects with academia, industrial partners, and national labs. Improvements have been made to the hard-wired safety system including independent and redundant sensors. Further, a third, independent stopping mechanism (related to the upgrade of the machines) was installed in order to expand operating envelope with variable-speed conversion.

The Vestas V27 turbine to be erected at SWiFT in January 2016.

The Vestas V27 turbine to be erected at SWiFT in January 2016.

Miguel Hernandez (Texas Tech Univ. staff) servicing a SWiFT facility anemometer boom.

Miguel Hernandez (Texas Tech Univ. staff) servicing a SWiFT facility anemometer boom.

Sandia is also ready to launch a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) system, which will allow for full simulation of new controllers based on FAST simulations in a simulated hardware environment. This will support fast, safe release of new controls algorithms as they are conceptualized and prepared for release at the full SWiFT site.

A newly refurbished Vestas V27 turbine will replace the turbine damaged last year. The new turbine is expected to be erected at SWiFT in January 2016 and fully operational in June 2016.

Concurrent with these efforts, the SWiFT facility site staff have been advancing the operational status of the DOE/SNL meteorological tower. All instrumentation is installed and the tower was fully operational in June. Efforts then transitioned to the nearby Vestas meteorological tower which is now operational as well.

SWiFT summer research program included

  • meteorological observations,
  • programming a new acoustic measurement system,
  • feasibility testing of several components of Sandia’s wake imaging system, and
  • preparation for testing of several LIDAR systems in collaboration with Texas Tech and two LIDAR suppliers.