Deakin University has partnered with renewable energy developer ACCIONA to create a virtual reality tool that will help members of the public experience new wind farms before they are built.
The tool, to be developed by researchers in the CADET Virtual Reality Lab at Deakin’s School of Engineering, will allow people to visualise and interact with different wind turbine configurations and layouts and to listen to any sounds they make.
Director of the CADET VR Lab, Associate Professor Ben Horan, said the VR experience would help members of the community visualise how wind farms interact with the surrounding landscape.
“It is exciting to produce a tool that supports the transition towards renewable energy generation,” Associate Professor Horan said.
“By wearing a VR headset, people can immerse themselves in the virtual environment and access relevant information at the same time.
“For instance, they will be able to see the technology within the wind turbines and look up the amount of energy the turbines produce in given wind conditions,” Associate Professor Horan said.
The Mortlake South Wind Farm was one of six successful projects announced in September 2018 as part of the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) reverse auction.
The 35 turbine wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes a year and is scheduled to commence operation at the end of 2020.
ACCIONA Managing Director Brett Wickham said construction began in February this year but, with most of the work happening below ground, many people were still unsure what the project would eventually look like.
“The VR solution provides us with a tool to take to schools, community meetings and events and show people first-hand how the project will look and feel,” Mr Wickham said.
ACCIONA and Deakin are also working together on several other initiatives, including the construction of a vehicle designed to compete in the World Solar Challenge in 2021 and a second VRET project to develop drone technology suitable to undertake wind turbine inspections.
Deakin Energy Director, Dr Adrian Panow said Deakin was pleased to partner with ACCIONA, a company that has a genuine commitment to sustainability and research.
“The association provides students and researchers with opportunities to develop and apply their skills by working on real life, challenging projects,” Dr Panow said.
“The importance and potential of industry and universities working together should never be underestimated, and we look forward to seeing more projects come to life in the future.”