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  • Eveready Group

Kestrel's Wind Turbine Testing Facility

DAC Centre DAC Centre Eveready Plant Eveready Plant Raising the Tower Raising the Tower Securing the Tower Securing the Tower Tripod Complete Tripod Complete
Date: 29 August 2007

Kestrel Wind Turbineís product range is being expanded to include a grid tie version of the e150 as well as the e300i. Kestrel is expanding its ability to meet customersí energy requirements and needs. The grid tie versions of the small wind turbines are specifically designed to reduce consumption from the grid and increase the convenience of using renewable energy, being virtually maintenance free. Grid tie systems also allow users to manage the increasing energy costs that consumers are experiencing as well as avoiding any regional reliability issues.

Compared to other small renewable systems, Kestrel is competitively priced and is of a very high quality. Kestrel is pursuing the highest levels of quality and standards, to such an extent, that the DAC (Data Acquisition Centre) is currently being put together for comprehensive testing of Kestrelís wind turbines. Grid tie systems are an intrinsic and important part of making wind energy a prominent feature of South Africaís future energy mix. At present, in South Africa, there are many windmills and wind pumps that are used to tap ground water in rural and farming communities. By including all the pilot wing projects, it is estimated that the current wind energy potential being harnessed in South Africa is 16 000 kW. Despite the countryís abundance of cheap and dirty coal, current demand is exceeding supply, making alternative energies not only feasible but necessary.

The DAC, situated on the Eveready plant in Port Elizabeth, aims to collect comprehensive field data for certification, without which the turbines will not be allowed to power any national grid. By Kestrelís technology in local conditions Kestrel can better recommend the optimal renewable energy system to be implemented for businesses or private users. In South Africa, alone, there is an abundance of wind resources and has competitive economic conditions for the development of wind energy. The World Wind Energy Association estimates that South Africaís potential for wind energy harvesting is 26 000 GWh annually. The Department of Minerals and Energy has committed to making finance available for Independent Power Producers (IPP) in order to minimise the high reliance the country has on coal.

The test turbines will be using SMA Windy Boy inverters, in order to accurately track electrical output, specifically for use in grid tie applications. The data will also assist Kestrel in giving accurate electrical output estimates for off-grid or battery charging systems as part of the continuous research policy in place at Kestrel. The e150 and the e300i can be used as part of any system, including hybrid, grid tie, battery charging or water pumping. The DAC will also be used to simplify tower erection methods, maintenance procedures and optimise systems. Ideally, Kestrelís wind turbines should be able to be erected simply and with only a few technical resources, this should be sufficient for the erected tower to withstand high wind class onslaughts. The outcome of DAC testing will be four turbine models of the Kestrel range which can withstand extreme winds of up to 65 metres per second, due to the superior, refined wind technology. Once testing is complete the e150 and the e300i turbines can be integrated into small local electricity grids with other decentralised power generators. In the meantime, in-house and field testing has been successfully launched at the Eveready factory.

Twenty prototypes of the e300i are now being installed for field testing at different locations in South Africa with particular climatic demands. The locations, which were selected by Kestrelís clients, are currently being set up. The in-house test operation will run for approximately one year, with field testing concluded in a few months. The collected data will influence the final design and manufacture of the e300i.

For any updates on the progress the test turbines are making, please contact Kestrel Wind Turbines directly.

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