Located on the east coast of Canada on the North-West tip of Prince Edward Island, the Institute has been testing wind turbines since 1981. This experience, along with our unique geographical and meteorological features, makes us the premier location for wind energy collaborative research either on our 35 acre small wind test site or with our 10 MW Wind R&D Park which includes a test bed for storage technologies that is now occupied by a 1 MW/2 MWh storage system, for innovation in grid integration. Our energy storage system allows us to be leaders of research in grid integration in Canada, with use-cases being developed and tested in partnership with utilities and system operators.
With annual capacity factors above 45%, our wind turbines are being used to lead Canadian research into service life estimation. Our small wind test bed has been used for inverter testing, innovative blade designs, and testing leading to certification.
The Institute is located in North Cape, Prince Edward Island, close to the village of Tignish. The Institute has a 300° exposure to the ocean, providing a high average wind speed with low turbulence intensity, as well as a harsh marine, highly corrosive environment. Our 35 acres are used for testing turbine parts such as blade designs and inverters, small wind turbine testing, and demonstrating technologies such as Lidar on our small wind turbines before deployment on larger technologies. Our site has an IEC Class II wind regime, which allows for shorter testing periods. The nearby villages of Tignish and Alberton offer a variety of accommodations and restaurants within 30 km of our site.
The Institute’s 10 MW Wind R&D Park has five DeWind D9.2 2MW wind turbines that feature a synchronous generator coupled to the variable speed rotor through the hydraulic Voith WinDrive. With dependable operation in a harsh coastal environment and cold weather, these turbines have an annual capacity factor above 45%. The 93 m diameter enables the rated 2 MW to be reached at around 10 m/s and provide stable power up to 25 m/s. Their cut-in wind speed of 4 m/s and wide temperature operating range allows the Institute to provide low cost electricity to the local utility.
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) testbed is now occupied by an S&C’s Purewave Inverter, which interfaces GE’s Durathon Na-NiCl2 battery technology to the network.
This 2 MWh battery uses a 1 MW inverter in order to deliver responsive, stable power to the network when it is required. The BESS is used to advance the knowledge of how storage can be used to improve the grid’s reliability. Utilizing the storage for different use-cases allows us to understand the technical and economic implications of using storage to provide various services. For example, time shifting, demand and energy avoidance on a wind farm, diesel displacement, and frequency regulation (automated generation control) have all been demonstrated using the storage system.
The Institute is partnering with academia, utilities, and government to ensure that our research provides the necessary information to promote the use of energy storage systems to improve grid reliability.
The Small Wind Test Bed on our 35 acres property has 14 test pads for small wind turbine. Each test bed is equipped with its own MET mast. The electrical infrastructure has been updated to support any voltage requirement up to 600 VAC at 60 Hz. A fiber optic network has been installed to give internet access to any location at our facility. We have the capacity to support any testing such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and RenewableUK Small Wind Turbine Standard, as well as the manufacturer’s research and development needs.
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada has two fully equipped meteorological towers. At the Small Wind Test Bed a 62-m met mast has been recording wind speed and direction at multiple heights since 1986. It also measures temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity. Additional meteorological masts are installed around the property to correspond with small wind turbine testing.
An 80 m IEC compliant meteorological tower, which is installed at the Wind R&D Park, is equipped with anemometers, direction vanes, an ultrasonic wind sensor, and temperature and humidity measurements. This data is recorded every second and long term averages are calculated. Data has been recorded at this location since 2013.
Two other 60-meter towers are available within a local windfarm which were originally set up to study the wake effects in this setting.
Built in 2006, our state-of-the-art two-story facility consists of offices, a boardroom, laboratories and workshops, one of which is equipped with items such as: metal lathe, drill press, and a variety of other tools. The laboratory is equipped with specialized measuring equipment such as oscilloscopes, acoustic meter, power meter, variac, power supplies, function generator and others.
AWTS Guest House
An on-site two-story accommodations building is available to visiting professors, co-op students, researchers, and scientists. It features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and ten beds, and has amenities such as kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as satellite TV and Internet. Our accommodations facility was built in 1981 as the laboratory for the Atlantic Wind Test Site and renovated in 2006 for its current use.
In collaboration with PEI’s Holland College and its Wind Turbine Service Technician Training Program (www.hollandcollege.com), the Institute has installed a training tower at our North Cape site. This training tower, promoted as a tower for Fall Arrest/Safety/Rescue training, is available for educational training programs as well as private sector companies on a fee for service basis.
The University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Renewable Energy Technology Research Facility, located on the Institute’s 35 acres adjacent to the small wind test beds, offers a variable speed test bed that allows generators (up to 150 kW), inverters and energy storage devices to be tested in a controlled environment. Because the UNB facility is connected electrically to the Institute’s wind turbines, studies from the controlled environment can be transformed quickly into a real world study using operational wind turbines.
The PI system will collect, analyze, visualize, and share large amounts of high fidelity time-series data from multiple sources from all of the above components into one common database.