A GERMAN firm has become the first major wind farm developer to buy into a new technology that creates an instant 3D image of a proposed project from any angle around the site.
ABO Wind is licensing the app, called VentusAR, from Glasgow-based start-up Linknode. ABO is Linknode’s first significant development customer for the product, which is also used by landscape architects, planners and community groups.
Running on iPad and Android tablets, VentusAR aims to speed up development by easing concerns and objections to the visual impact of a new wind farm development. Estimates indicate the improved use of resources and time could equate to six-figure cost savings on a typical project.
It uses the tablet’s integrated camera, GPS positioning and 3D gaming capabilities to create a live, realistic view of a proposed wind farm from any vantage point.
ABO Wind is now evaluating VentusAR across a number of sites in Scotland, with the potential to extend its use to other group projects in Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Argentina.
With offices in Livingston and Inverness, ABO has one operational Scottish wind farm at Lairg in Sutherland. It also has five other projects in various stages of planning.
Lucy Forte, project manager at ABO Wind, said VentusAR would prove useful throughout the entire development process, from initial assessments up to final consultations. It also assists in reviewing alternative layouts and the cumulative effects of multiple wind farms.
“The VentusAR is a very clever piece of technology that can add value at every stage of the development process,” Forte said.
“From initial site investigations through to consultation, where this app allows the potential for better-quality engagement with planners and members of the public, by providing instant in-field visualisations from any specified viewpoint.”
Set up in Stirling by founder Crispin Hoult, Linknode began trading in 2011 as a digital mapping service. Projects have included development and support of the Scottish Government’s ePlanning systems, as well as Open Source solutions for local authority planning.
VentusAR was launched last May and has been tested in the field by a number of companies in the renewables sector.
Former SSE chief executive Ian Marchant, who took a minority stake in Linknode in the autumn, is a non-executive director.