Blowin' in the Wind: Wind River Systems Inc.
ALAMEDA - The development of wind power generation systems is the fastest growing energy sector in the world.
Last year, ?wind farms? churned out a staggering $6 billion in business in 2002, with facilities in the US alone producing a record-breaking 10 billion kilowatt hours of energy - up from the 6 billion the year before and enough to power more than one million homes.
Several California based companies are leading the pack in the development and marketing of wind turbine technology and one of them scored a major coup recently when its technology was selected to power the world?s largest off-shore wind farm at Horn?s Rev, a reef located in the North Sea about 15 miles off the west coast of Denmark.
Wind River Systems Inc., founded in 1981 and headquartered in Alameda in the San Francisco Bay area, developed the embedded software used to build the control systems of the 80 350-foot high wind turbines for Elsam, the Danish energy producer in control of the wind farm.
The company, which also has an office in Sunnyvale, worked on every aspect of the project?s various regulation, monitoring, data collection and control tasks ?to insure increased technological efficiencies and guaranteed reliability,? said Jerry Fiddler, chairman and co-founder of the company.
"Wind is one of the world's most promising non-polluting renewable energy sources," said Fiddler. ?Reducing the drain on depleting fossil fuels and pollution is a global concern. The world's capacity to generate energy from the wind has tripled over the last year, and Denmark is at the forefront of revolutionizing how wind power is produced, establishing itself as a proving ground for the greatest innovations in industrial technology.?
The Horns Rev wind farm is expected to produce 600 million kilowatt-hours of electricity yearly. Denmark relies on wind for a full 16% percent of its power, making it one of the world's leading proponents of electricity generation.
Using wind turbines, the country has set the goal of generating 4000MW of electricity per year by 2030.
The control of a wind turbine is highly complex - the blades, the angle of the turbine, aircraft warning lights, the amount of electricity generated and the interaction of the turbine with other machines. Wind River technology monitors and controls each wind turbine, which is managed in real-time via an IP network. Each turbine operates as an autonomous power plant and contains five microprocessors. The 80 wind turbines are also networked to each other and a central control station, where energy production from each wind turbine is self-regulated.
"Denmark will rely on Horns Rev to produce almost two percent of its annual power consumption," said Jens Bonefeld, project manager for Horns Rev at Elsam. "People will benefit from being able to switch on that power daily, day or night. We needed a robust wind turbine control system built that ensured high availability and going offshore with wind farming made this a greater challenge. The use of Wind River's technology at the heart of the operation at Horns Rev has been key to ensuring that the wind farm proves itself to be a reliable power source."
Wind River Systems Inc.
500 Wind River Way
Alameda, California 94501
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