Deakin University has partnered with a renewable energy developer to create a virtual reality (VR) tool that will enable members of the public to experience new wind farms before they are built.
The tool, to be developed by researchers in the CADET Virtual Reality Lab at Deakin’s School of Engineering, will allow people to visualise and interact with different wind turbine configurations and layouts and to listen to any sounds they make.
Director of the CADET VR Lab, Associate Professor Ben Horan, said the VR experience would help members of the community visualise how wind farms interact with the surrounding landscape.
“It is exciting to produce a tool that supports the transition towards renewable energy generation,” he said.
“By wearing a VR headset, people can immerse themselves in the virtual environment and access relevant information at the same time.”
“For instance, they will be able to see the technology within the wind turbines and look up the amount of energy the turbines produce in given wind condition,” Associate Professor Horan added.
The Mortlake South Wind Farm was one of six successful projects announced in September 2018 as part of the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) reverse auction. The 35 turbine wind farm is expected to generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes a year and is scheduled to commence operation at the end of 2020.
ACCIONA Managing Director, Brett Wickham, said construction began in February this year but, with most of the work happening below ground, many people were still unsure what the project would eventually look like.
“The VR solution provides us with a tool to take to schools, community meetings and events and show people first-hand how the project will look and feel,” Mr Wickham commented.
ACCIONA and Deakin are also working together on several other initiatives, including the construction of a vehicle designed to compete in the World Solar Challenge in 2021 and a second VRET project to develop drone technology suitable to undertake wind turbine inspections.