Wind Data Collection Becomes More Affordable for Smaller Developers


You’ve heard of solar leasing programs for energy-conscious, yet budget-constrained, consumers. Now comes a leasing program to give wind-power developers the financing flexibility they need to acquire wind-energy technology regardless of the size of their project.

Second Wind, a maker of wind measurement systems for the wind power industry, has introduced a leasing program for its Triton Sonic Wind Profiler remote sensing system. It is the first manufacturer-supported third-party leasing program for remote sensing.

The sensing system can measure wind above the 460-foot blade tip height of current utility-scale wind turbines. Developers of wind farms that use turbines of that size are willing to spend the $50,000 to $60,000 it costs for the Triton system because they use it to monitor ongoing wind conditions. The new lease program is aimed at smaller projects whose need for the system might not be as long-term.

“If you’re a community wind organization doing a study on the feasibility to put up a turbine in your community, you aren’t at the same level as the wind farm market,” says Naomi Pierce, marketing associate for Second Wind. “So it makes sense to lease. This will help early stage developers to have a chance to own the technology that the big guys have.”

When developers are considering sites to locate wind turbines, they consider such factors as permitting, community support, proximity to power lines and land compatibility including nearby trees and buildings. But accurate wind speed data is crucial. Second Wind was founded in 1980 by two engineers, Walter Sass and Kenneth Cohn, who moved the company into the business of “wind resource assessment” – collecting data to evaluate the wind at possible wind generation sites – a year later.

Though 30-years-old, the Somerville, MA company is more like a start-up because of the new technology it has produced. In 2008 Second Wind launched the Triton Sonic Wind Profiler, a system that uses advanced “sodar” (Sonic Detection and Ranging) technology to provide accurate wind measurement data across the entire blade sweep of today’s largest wind turbines. Triton’s advantage is that it can measure wind at higher heights than the more commonly used meteorological towers that usually measure no more than 190 feet tall. The company says that more than 150 Triton sodar systems are in use.

The leasing program is operated through a newly-established Second Wind Financial Services, which is a partnership between Second Wind Inc. and Vendor Lease Management Group of Parsippany, N.J. A Second Wind customer can lease a Triton for periods typically of 12, 24or 36 months, though it will rent the Triton system for as brief as one month.

“Our goal is to streamline the development of wind energy,” says Larry Letteney, Second Wind’s CEO. “This means giving wind farm developers access to industry-leading technology to get their sites approved and working as soon as possible. Rental and leasing gives growing companies the tools to use industry best practices, while managing their cash flow.”

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