The Wind Energy Center (as RERL) built and operated an experimental turbine testing station on Mt. Tom in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Over the years several major turbine monitoring and control activities were performed at Mt. Tom, including:
Yaw Damper Tests: The turbine on Mt. Tom is a free-yaw machine, with the rotor located downwind of the tower. Free-yaw turbines are allowed to follow the wind (or “yaw”) as the direction changes. However, under certain conditions yaw motions must be slowed with a damper to protect the rotor. An original Atlantic Orient Company-developed damper design led to testing of a redesigned damper system, which should benefit other turbine manufacturers.
Advanced Control for Variable Speed Turbines: Operation of wind turbines at variable speed has the potential of increasing the energy output while decreasing loads. An innovative variable speed turbine controller incorporating fuzzy logic was developed that can be adaptable to any wind turbine
Integration into Electrical Systems: Modern wind turbines interact not only with the local environment, but also with the electrical grid. The wind turbine at Mt. Tom was used for grid connection modeling and verification as the first steps in developing grid-friendly wind turbines.