The main part of the program centres round laying out the wind farm on a digitized map of the potential area. Turbines are placed on the map and adjusted to optimize their position - where the optimization may aim to maximize power output, or consider some other chosen variable, such as minimizing energy unit cost, wind noise, or visual inpact. Of course to do these calculations the program needs to have data, such as contour heights and wind flow figures. The program copes with this data in a good number of formats already, and the developer will provide conversion from custom formats if the existing ones are not sufficient.
The layout of the wind farm is backed up with a number of other modules that allow the turbines design criteria themselves to be specified, and to calculate various aspects of how the farm interacts with the surroundings - including noise calculations, whether and where visual flicker may occur, and the zone of visual influence (where the turbines will be visible from).
The most spectacular modules are those that produce visual representations of the wind farm - in the form of wire frame or fully rendered views. The turbines may be animated, and combined with photos to produce montages of how the farm will look,
The online help system guides you through using all the various modules included with the system, and also has a good general introduction to wind power theory, and hence the maths that lie behind the program's calculations. This is backed up with an extensive list of references if you need to delve more deeply into the theory.
As a niche software program, the purchase price reflects the relativly small number of sales opportunities that must between them cover the development costs, but as a small company with limited overheads these are kept to a minimum. Prices range from £1500 to £2300 dependent on which modules are included - which probably rules it out if you are just looking to place a single family turbine in the best location, but is a small percentage of the costs of developing a multi turbine wind farm.
Whilst most windfarms these days feature three bladed turbines, the program allows for other turbine types, which can help when considering adding additional turbines to an existing windfarm. I even designed a wind farm full of traditional wooden smock mills and brick tower mills!
The program runs on Windows, from 95 through to XP. The developer is responsive to customer feedback, as the development of custom data import convertors indicates, and can provide demo systems which allow the system to be tried out using provided data.
For more info:
|Last updated 03/03/2017||Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -|