HiDef Aerial Surveying in collaboration with partners BRI, University of Maine, and First Wind have received $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to further develop HiDef’s Collision Avoidance Technology which seeks to understand how birds and bats avoid wind turbines. The collaboration will refine the existing stereo-optic, extreme high-definition camera system already under development.
The technology will use two extreme high-definition cameras that are offset to create a three dimensional view of a wind turbine, the horizon, and an area surrounding the turbine. In addition to daytime operations, the cameras will use a new, near-infrared technology that will allow the detection of animal movements at night as well as during the day. Initial deployment will be at one or more operating wind farms owned by First Wind in the state of Maine. The selection of the preferred test site(s) is still to be determined.
Developing technology to detect bird and bat avoidance at terrestrial and offshore wind farms will promote a better understanding of the nature of wildlife risks-or lack thereof-at wind farms, and reduce uncertainty about micro avoidance behaviours during operation. In the future, these cameras could provide a reliable method of detecting bird and bat response to offshore wind projects, where it is not possible to conduct traditional wildlife monitoring.
“This is an extraordinary collaboration between HiDef’s technology developers and engineers, BRI’s wildlife biologists, a wind farm developers and an academic body who are working together on cutting-edge technology,” says Wing Goodale, deputy director of Biodiversity Research Institute. “These camera systems will be able to address the challenge of understanding how birds and bats behave around wind turbines.”
HiDef managing director Mark Robinson said “We are delighted with the award, we have a very strong partnership which promises to validate the system developments we undertook in the UK with Centrica and move the technology on to a 24 hour a day service. The current inertia within the UK offshore wind supply chain has meant HiDef need to develop this technology for alternative territories such as the USA, our R&D function will be transferred to our U.S. company to fulfil our obligations”.
HiDef and BRI have been collaborating for three years a pervious DOE award for $4.5M delivering digital aerial surveys. Steve Burns technical director at HiDef commented, “when we set out to find collaboration partners in the U.S. BRI were our preferred choice having worked so closely and successfully with them over an extended period of time. We believe the additional developments planned in this latest project will deliver a commercially ready system operating on a continuous 24 basis within a year.