Belgian wind farm first to be equipped with Topwind Bird Control System

At the end of October, the onshore wind farm Pelt with three wind turbines was opened just across the border in Belgium. Dutch company Topwind supplied the system that switches off the turbines based on information from the weather radar in Helchteren.

Pelt wind farm comprises three wind turbines with a joint capacity of 4 to 4.5 MW at Pelt, north of the Bocholt-Herentals Canal. The project is a collaboration between Belgian developer Storm and zinc processing company Nyrstar. Two of the three turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 145 metres and a tip height of 170 metres, are located on land owned by Nyrstar and neighbouring company Velbo.

The wind farm is located in an area that sees massive bird migration from north to south every year in autumn. For this reason, the permit for the wind farm stipulates that the wind farm must take measures to prevent collisions with birds as far as possible.

Bird Control System

Topwind, also known for their Ice Prevention System for wind turbines, developed the Bird Control System to translate radar data from weather radars in the vicinity of a wind farm into a standstill facility for the wind farm. Wind farm Pelt, for example, is connected to the precipitation radar of KMI and the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM). The radar can give a score, known as the Bird Down Score, for the approach of bird swarms within a radius of about 30 kilometres.

If a predetermined score is reached, the wind farm will be shut down and automatically restarted if the pre-set conditions allow. The wind turbines are only stopped if the radar detects swarms of birds in the vicinity of the wind farm.

The software system is located in the SCADA compartment of the wind farm. No modifications to the wind turbines themselves are therefore required. The system also offers the possibility of facilitating a user interface where the user can export historical data, see the status of the system and see the live status of the windfarm.

In this case, a solution that uses data from third parties has been set up to cause wind turbines to stop when swarms of birds approach. The system can also be set up to halt at the approach of helicopters, nuisance from cast shadow or the detection of bats. Photo: Jens Veraa

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