Meet our member: Alex Woodward, ZephIR Lidar
Name: Alex Woodward
Job: Head of Product Development
Company: ZephIR Lidar
How long have you worked in renewables?
I started in 2002 with QinteQ, and since then I have worked with Natural Power, Fred Olsen, and now ZephIR Lidar, delivering wind lidars to a growing, exciting market.
In ten words or fewer, what does your firm do?
We measure the wind, remotely, with ZephIR lidars.
In which markets do you see the biggest opportunities?
Measuring the wind remotely, without needing to deploy tall structures (met masts), offers many advantages. The biggest opportunities can be found where the cost differential is greatest between the high-cost installation and maintenance requirements of a mast versus the low-cost installation and limited maintenance requirements of a lidar.
For ZephIR, at the moment we see significant demand in the offshore market, where lidars are deployed on floating platforms
for wind resource assessment projects, and installed on substations
or low-cost platforms during construction and operation in replacement of met masts. Onshore, increasingly we see operational site masts being replaced with lidars too.
A further significant opportunity is the testing and acceptance of new turbine installations where a turbine-mounted lidar can be used for an IEC-equivalent power curve test. This can be replicated on multiple turbines in the wind farm without the need for temporary masts and their associated health and safety requirements, or planning permits. The opportunity for lidar is truly global.
What is wind's biggest challenge, and how would you fix it?
As support mechanisms change, we can use lidar to help project owners address significant challenges. One area where we are working with customers is the extension and upgrade of operational assets. Here, sites must give that little bit more, or be fit for another ten years’ energy production, and lidar can help optimise individual turbines, or tune them to the site conditions. For example, being aware of neighbouring turbine wakes or aligning turbine yaw.
Furthermore, as turbines are upgraded through rotor extensions, loads can be better managed by ‘seeing’ the approaching wind and protecting the turbine so its stands the best possible chance of delivering over the next ten years.
What do you enjoy most about working in wind?
From the beginning, one the most enjoyable parts of working in wind has been working alongside a group of like-minded individuals in the industry, trying to deliver clean energy through innovative solutions: the design and development of sites, the turbine technology, the financing structures, positive community engagement. Everyone is working to grasp the opportunities that are available to us and that’s really rewarding.
Why did you join A Word About Wind?
A Word About Wind helps to bring those like-minded individuals together, in forums where you can just get on and discuss what’s important. Regular communications from the AWAW team help to educate and provide insight. This is our second year ‘in’, and we look forward to increasingly being a partner in relevant projects and events to become better connected.