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United States

Software for cost cutting

More than 4000 USW 56-100 wind turbines in California - at three different locations - are now being controlled by two PCs equipped with software from Fenway Systems of Oakland, California. The PCs replace a trailer of eight older computers and what Fenway calls "a large development staff." According to the company, the Fenway Windfarm Control System (WCS) will "reduce operating and maintenance costs, improve reliability and increase profits."

The 4059 110 kW turbines, developed by US Windpower before it became Kenetech Windpower and collapsed in bankruptcy in 1996, are all controlled from Livermore, California. Of these, 3400 are in Altamont Pass, 600 are at Rio Vista and 100 operate in the San Gorgonio Pass, says Fenway. All of the turbines are controlled by two standard Windows NT based 400 MHz PCs running the Fenway WCS which communicates directly over 105 com-ports with the controller in each USW 56-100. No other equipment is needed, says Fenway, and the WCS can communicate with different turbine models and makes concurrently.

Automated energy maximisation for different wind regimes can be handled by pre-set programs, the company states. Not only can the system control America's centralised wind farms from one location, but also turbines in the European model of "very dispersed" wind farms.

Fenway systems was founded five years ago by Joe Pasquariello. The WCS is used to control 750 MW of wind plant in the US.

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