Facilities

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 now includes a 111.5 kW/223 kWh battery storage system and a 109 kW solar photovoltaic array.

Our Wind R&D Park 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% and a harsh, marine environment, our wind turbines are being used to lead Canadian research in asset management and service life estimation.

Our small wind test bed has been used for inverter testing, innovative blade designs, and testing leading to certification.

For more information on WEICan facilities, contact Marianne Rodgers.

Location

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. The nearby villages of Tignish and Alberton offer a variety of accommodations and restaurants within 30 km of our site.

Wind R&D Park

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.

Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

WEICan has recently installed a 111.5 kW/223 kWh battery storage system from Tesla Energy. The battery uses Tesla’s lithium-ion chemistry cells.

WEICan expects the battery system to be a source of valuable operational data both for our own use and for broader research use. 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. We are in discussions with Canadian and US research groups to implement control algorithms on the battery and thus provide real-world performance data to researchers.

The battery, together with the wind park and PV solar array, will:

  • Produce actual data to inform policy and provide a business case for optimal grid integration of multiple renewable power sources
  • Develop operating parameters and processes to optimize the power generation from a wind/solar-PV/battery combination
  • Develop models for micro-grid and local renewable power generation to facilitate increased adoption of distributed and regional generation

Solar PV Array

WEICan has recently installed a 109 kW solar photovoltaic array, with panels from Jinko Solar. The array has a 66 % - 33 % split between bifacial and monofacial panels. Bifacial panels are able to generate power from their rear face via diffuse radiation from their surroundings. This array will serve as an excellent installation to examine the benefits of bifacial solar panels in harsh maritime conditions.

 Over the next few years, we expect to analyse the performance of our solar array in a range of weather conditions, particularly with strong winds and significant ground snow cover. The solar array is expected to reduce our site’s energy consumption, particularly during the low wind, summer months. WEICan will collaborate with researchers, utilities, and government to ensure that state-of-the-art methods and technologies are used to gather relevant data

Small Wind Test Bed

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.

Meteorological Towers

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 cup anemometers, direction vanes, an ultrasonic wind sensor, pyranometer, ice detection, 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

.At the Small Wind Test Bed, a Campbell Scientific PWS100 weather sensor is installed on a 12 m tower. It measures visibility, SYNOP (FM-12) weather code, precipitation type, precipitation amount, and average particle size. Data has been collected since 2018 in 1 minute intervals.  

Two other 60-meter towers are available within a local windfarm which were originally set up to study the wake effects in this setting.

Main Site

Main Office
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, 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.

Training Tower
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.

UNB Facility
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.

OSIsoft PI System

The Wind Energy Institute of Canada installed an OSISoft PI System in 2016. The PI System provides the ability to collect, analyze, visualize, and share data from across the Institute. Data from the R&D Wind Park, meteorological towers, Small Wind Test Bed, power meters, and other sensors are brought into the PI database sampling rates as low as 10Hz. The PI system also allows easy integration of real time data analysis, which aids in operation of the Wind Park.

Wind Park Display

The Wind Energy Institute of Canada advances the development of wind energy across Canada through research, testing, innovation and collaboration.