The knowledge connection for business

Client: NWRC – Applying research and technology transfer
Knowledge Provider: North West Regional College
Sector: Renewables

NWRC – Applying research and technology transfer

Gaelectric are a leading independent developer and operator of renewable energy projects in wind, bioenergy and solar on the island of Ireland and in Great Britain.

Gaelectric Gaelectric About the Company
Founded in 2004, Gaelectric have 174MW of wind generation connected to the grid.  This will grow to over 400 MW of wind energy by 2017 and up to 1,000MW of renewable generation across wind, solar, bioenergy and generation using compressed air energy storage by 2020.

Gaelectric are also developing energy storage projects in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and on the European mainland that will support the full integration of renewable sources of energy into power systems. Most recently Gaelectric are providing market and trading services to energy users and helping farmers and businesses select the right solutions in a rapidly changing energy market for their needs.

About the Case
Under the Connected programme the NWRC and Gaelectric were able to discuss collaborative opportunities and identified a business need to develop cutting edge technology in wind energy forecasting, a critical aspect of wind energy generation.

Wind energy is a maturing contributor to the electricity generation mix in Ireland and with the changes to the energy market planned for Ireland in 2016, there was an imminent requirement for wind energy forecasting to be as accurate as possible. The NWRC and Gaelectric collaborated on a successful application for the InterTrade Ireland Fusion Programme to overcome this particular business challenge with wind energy forecasting.

The innovative technology that the Fusion graduate, Shaheer Ansari, is developing will advance wind energy forecasting to a point that will allow Gaelectric to forecast, record and report wind energy accurately to within an hour, similar to how a weather app displays the weather forecast by the hour on a smartphone.

About the Knowledge Provider
Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager, North West Regional College, said,

“Our focus at the NWRC is to support industry with innovation, applied research and technology transfer and in particular we are targeting areas in science, technology, engineering and mathematical sectors. Gaelectric are an exciting company at the forefront of the renewable energy market and we are delighted and proud that through partnering with us. The graduate will have the opportunity to apply his talents to a burgeoning area in renewable energy. This project would not have been possible without the funding of Connected to get the discussions kick-started and explore opportunities for collaboration. The College signed a memorandum of understanding with Gaelectric and the company are providing bursaries for 6 students, totalling £3,000, have been in to the College to inspire students an showcase the IT technology being developed and are now taking internships from the College.”

The Results
Hugh Logue, Director, Gaelectric, said, “Through the collaboration we are in a unique position to commit to the development of a robust method of forecasting wind energy and utilise this data efficiently and effectively to generate power from wind. We are delighted to have Shaheer with us on this project for what we are sure will be a very exciting 18 months for this team and Shaheer.”

Shaheer Ansari said, “I am delighted for the opportunity to work with Gaelectric, a global-leader in renewable energy generation. Wind energy forecasting is a fundamental aspect of the sustainability of the wind energy sector and I am excited to turn my ideas into tangible results in this area.”

With the project 6 months in Fergal said, “even though we are only a third the way through the project Shaheer has made a tremendous impact at Gaelectric and has made great strides towards the final solution. This project is an excellent example of technology transfer between academia and industry and there have been many benefits for all involved, the college lecturing team, Gaelectric and the graduate. It’s a truly exciting and ground breaking project and without the initial support of Connected it might never have happened.”

Dr Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager at North West Regional College’s Business Support Centre (BSC) and leads the NWRC’s team of technical consultants in industry focussed projects and manages the engagement with businesses, locally, regionally and internationally. Fergal has an extensive and diverse range of research and development projects, from food to ICT to engineering and product design.

Knowledge Provider Name: NWRC
Contact Name: Dr Fergal Tuffy
Telephone number: 028 71 276170

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