Iberdrola's wind energy control center is nation's most advanced
By Lee van der Voo, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Portland's image got a little greener with the recent addition of the nation’s most advanced wind energy control facility in the city’s Pearl District.
Iberdrola Renewables, the U.S. division of Spain-based Iberdrola Renovables SA, began operating its National Control Center in Portland at an undisclosed address in the city's popular northwest neighborhood in February. The company just released the news Monday. The exact location of its control center is under wraps, with Iberdrola citing security concerns as cause to be tight-lipped. Iberdrola's headquarter offices are in the Pearl's Brewery Blocks.
The facility is viewed as key to the company's growth strategy in America, and has the added advantage of making Iberdrola a leader in addressing renewable energy's integration into the national power grid.
The National Control Center is essentially a clearinghouse of digital data that allows Iberdrola to monitor its wind turbines, wind farms, and substations in the United States. The company's American assets include 2,500 wind turbines at 41 wind farms.
The center receives data from approximately 800,000 sensors that monitor not only weather and power generation at Iberdrola facilities, but also the security and the delicate mechanics of the wind turbines themselves. Similar to sensors in cars, they detect low oil levels or other troubles with mechanics, allowing for remote fixes or fast direction to a local technician.
The proprietary technology at the root of the operation was first tried at a similar facility in Toledo, Ore., in 2003. It's been expanded there since, and adapted into a national model by approximately 50 workers involved in the project.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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