Created by Stirling-based Linknode, ‘VentusAR’ is a tablet-based app which allows developers and planners to see an augmented reality, animated vision of their project while standing on the proposed site. The unique piece of software will be launched at the All Energy Conference in Aberdeen on May 22-23.
The company, which has been helped by Business Gateway Stirling, believes the application will enhance the wind farm development and planning process for a workforce that is increasingly mobile, reducing time spent and costs. The product also has the potential to be used in sectors such as Architecture, Culture & Heritage and Retail.
Crispin Hoult, Managing Director of Linknode, said: “People have never been able to go into the field with dynamic visualisation before. Currently the process of using photomontages involves taking paper drawings on site, trying to relocate a position and match the visual impression with the landscape as seen from that location. What VentusAR offers is a more flexible, integrated, efficient and dynamic companion tool for visual impact assessment.
“What our tablet application allows users to do is download a 3D map of the site along with an accurately located model of a proposed wind farm. In the field you can see on screen an augmented reality view of what a development will actually look like. If you want to see it from a different angle all you have to do is point the tablet in that direction. Alternative models can be easily downloaded allowing different layouts or turbine heights to be interactively viewed instantly from any location.
“We understand the planning system and that visualisation is one of the biggest and most contentious issues for renewables projects, but up until two years ago the hardware wasn’t available to produce VentusAR. However, technology and our understanding of it has advanced and Linknode have integrated our knowledge of geography and geospatial data management to produce an app that no-one else has.”
Linknode, which is based in Wellgreen Lane, Stirling, was set up by Hoult in 2011 to provide online digital mapping services to a range of clients. Projects include development and support for Scottish Government e-Planning systems and Open Source solutions for local authority planning.
He said: “When we started looking at innovation grants for VentusAR in 2011 we were told to speak to Business Gateway first. They immediately saw potential in what we wanted to do and organised a strategy workshop that helped us focus. Market development support has also assisted us in securing funding to attend trade shows and take on someone whose sole purpose is to prepare for exhibitions and be our ‘public face’. Ultimately their assistance helped us secure a SMART: Scotland Award in January. This has allowed us to undertake research, that otherwise would have been too risky to fund ourselves and will go towards the development of future VentusAR functions including archaeological visualisation.”
Caroline Brown, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “Crispin’s company has produced a product that could fundamentally change the planning process, not only simplifying it for planners and developers, but also help the public easily visualise large scale development projects that often cause fear and confusion. By accessing free, impartial advice Crispin has been able to grow his company quickly, from two employees to having just taken on his sixth, and get ahead of where he had planned to be. Securing funds to attend trade shows and bring on a ‘public face’ has been fundamental in helping him validate VentusAR while the SMART: Scotland Award will fund 75 per cent of feasibility and R&D over a 10 month period.”
23 March 2013
•Wind generates over 5 gigawatts of electricity for whole 24 hour period for the first time
•Enough to power the equivalent of 4 out of every 10 British homes
•Power was generated during one of the coldest March days on record and whilst gas price at 7 year high
For the first time, wind energy in the UK generated over 5 gigawatts of electricity consistently over a 24 hour period, with the period starting on Thursday 21st at 2130 and continuing for the whole of Friday 22nd March 2013.
This means that for this 24 hour period wind was generating enough to power the equivalent of nearly 4 out of every 10 UK homes and consistently over 10% of GB’s overall electricity needs.
In addition a record for one-off generation in a half hour period was created at 1530 when 5.296GW of wind was present on the grid, alongside another anticipated 2GW from distributed wind.
Last week ScottishPower Renewables received consent from The Scottish Government to construct the 96 turbine Kilgallioch Windfarm, south of Barrhill in south west Scotland. The project will have an operational capacity of up to 288MW, which could meet the annual electricity demands of more than 170,000 homes.
The consent for this major renewable energy project comes shortly after ScottishPower Renewables reported a record-breaking week for electricity generated by its windfarms. Between Friday 25th January and Thursday 31st SPR’s 28 operational onshore windfarms generated more than 135 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 1.6million homes in an average weekly period*.
Kilgallioch will become SPR’s second largest onshore wind project, behind the 539MW Whitelee Windfarm, which is the largest onshore windfarm in the UK. Up to 250 workers will be required to construct the project which will see a total investment of over £400 million. The company hopes to start work in late 2014, or early 2015, and complete within approximately 24 months.
* Based on 135GWh (135,000,000 kWh) and average domestic consumption of 4266 kWh per year (82.03 kWh per week). 135GWh could supply the average weekly needs of 1,645,739 homes.
Shetland windfarm to feed power into the grid by Nov 2018
Shetland’s huge onshore windfarm will begin construction in early 2016 and will be ongoing until 2019. The delay is due to the renegotiation of the size of the development with planners and – more significantly – the delay in the installation of the HVDC interconnector to the mainland. It now looks likely that the critical 600MW interconnector cable from Shetland will make landfall in Caithness, so further upgrades to transmission lines in the far NE of the mainland may also be required.
Viking Energy is a 50-50 joint venture between Scottish & Southern Energy and the local community through a charitable trust. The partnership was granted planning consent for a potential 457 MW development by Scottish Ministers in April last year. However, the consent decision is currently being challenged in the Court of Session by Sustainable Shetland, who have lodged a judicial review.
Viking’s chairman Alan Bryce said that income projections had been reduced after Scottish Ministers had deleted 24 turbines from the original planning application.
However, he added that the company calculated that an additional £6 million a year would be received by crofters and landowners while a further £5 million per annum would be paid out for services sourced locally and in wages to the permanent workforce of around 30 people.