US Department of Energy selects Natural Power for smart curtailment technology fund

Leading renewable energy consultancy and service provider Natural Power has been selected to receive substantial funding to develop and test a smart curtailment system to protect bats while minimising power loss during wind farm operation.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected ten projects to receive funding totalling $6.8 million that will reduce environmental compliance costs and the environmental impacts of onshore and offshore wind energy.

Christine Sutter, Global Head of Wildlife Technology at Natural Power in North America, said: “The decision to consider funding our bat smart curtailment project demonstrates a real vote of confidence in our approach to supporting clients to maximise energy production, and in our expertise and ability to develop new technology at the forefront of our industry. Technologies that reduce the impact to bats, birds and other wildlife can lead to less curtailment when wind turbines need to be shut down. In turn, this will lead to greater annual energy production and lower wind energy costs – a goal we are all working towards.”

Building upon a current portfolio of smart curtailment research funded by the DOE Wind Office, Natural Power is one of four organisations that will receive $2.8 million collectively to further the advancement of smart curtailment strategies to minimise energy loss from curtailment and wind farm environmental impacts to bats.

Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus

Natural Power had submitted two scopes for consideration and both were successful. The first will be to develop a novel technology to reduce bat fatalities using real-time data on bat presence and wind speed, which can easily integrate with any wind turbine control system. Additionally, the team will work with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to test and improve the SCADA interface to ensure that it meets NERC cyber security and compliance.

About Natural Power

Natural Power is an independent consultancy and service provider that supports a global client base in the effective delivery of a wide range of renewable projects including onshore wind, solar, renewable heat, energy storage and offshore technologies. It has a global reach, employing more than 365 staff across 11 international offices. Its experience extends across all phases of the project lifecycle from initial feasibility, through construction to operations and throughout all stages of the transaction cycle.