With the opening next week of the 2015 American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Windpower Conference, fiber optics and wind power are particularly timely topics.
According to Industrial Marketing Analyst Natalia Juhasz, people often fail to realize that the many uses of optical fiber include industrial networking, such as control systems for wind power. In fact, industrialized fiber optics can provide an effective means to transmit data in harsh, outdoor environments.
How can the wind industry benefit from using fiber optic technology?
The answer is quite simple: the combination of safety, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and reliable performance in extreme conditions makes fiber very attractive for use in wind power applications.
To begin, fiber optic cable gear is often effectively used in Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems within and between wind towers. In addition, all-dielectric fiber optic cables help to prevent cable grounding, thereby helping to protect critically important control equipment from potentially damaging lightning strikes.
Complex wind farms frequently operate using fiber optic cables and switches to connect servers to turbines for the monitoring and control of wind power plants. Each day, millions of feet of fiber optic cable helps to provide seamless wind farm communications and data integration, from the wind towers through centralized control networks.
Renowned for the ability to transmit huge amounts of data over great distances, fiber optic products also offer the following distinct advantages in the harsh environments of wind turbines and wind farms:
- Immunity to Radiofrequency Interference (RFI):
- Isolation of Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) between the turbine and its controls;
- Stable performance over a broad range of operating temperatures;
- Non-repeating links over several kilometers;
- Simplified field connectorization with advanced cable and connector solutions.
For more information on the use of fiber optic products in wind power applications, please visit:
Utilities and Alternative Energy Solutions Guide