Wind farm’s new eagle safety tool
NEW technology aimed at stopping eagles colliding with turbines has been installed at Goldwind's Cattle Hill wind farm - the first of its kind in Australia - and other renewable energy projects are watching with interest.
Goldwind Australia announced today the IdentiFlight technology is ready to be trialled at its new wind project in Tasmania's Central Highlands and it will share the results with the industry.
UPC Renewables, which is behind the Robbins Island wind farm proposal in the state's North-West, has already indicated it is considering the technology to improve its project's environmental credentials.
IdentiFlight's tower-mounted optical units are designed to detect flying objects and then use algorithms to identify them as eagles.
If an eagle's speed and flight path indicate a risk of collision with a wind turbine, a signal is sent to shut down the specific wind turbine.
Sixteen IdentiFlight towers and the IdentiFlight base station have been installed and once the wind farm is operational, the location of the IdentiFlight towers will allow any of the farm's 48 turbines to be shut down if necessary.
So far, 13 of those 48 towers have been erected and the farm is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
"Through artificial intelligence and machine learning during the turbine commissioning period, the IdentiFlight technology will learn to become highly proficient at identifying Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles," president of IdentiFlight International Tom Hiester said.
"Goldwind and IdentiFlight have forged the working relationship needed to successfully implement such a sophisticated machine vision system over 10,000km away. As with all artificial intelligence systems, the more we see around the world, the better the system gets."
Goldwind Managing Director John Titchen said the installation was the first of its kind in Australia.
"We're very pleased to partner with the IdentiFlight team as the first wind farm in Australia to trial this newly available innovative eagle monitoring and detection technology," Mr Titchen said.
"The system is one of the project's key initiatives to mitigate Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle impacts and we look forward to sharing the results of this Australian trial following the wind farm becoming operational."
Construction of the project is progressing on many work fronts, with approximately 150 staff working on site. Installations of Goldwind turbines are ongoing with two main cranes currently on site. Commissioning of turbines will commence shortly.
Once operational, Cattle Hill Wind Farm will produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of approximately 63,500 Tasmanian homes.