Published: 31 October 2011
CSIRO spinoff makes Global Cleantech top 100 list
Windlab Systems – a wind ‘prospecting’ service for the renewable energy sector that began as a CSIRO spinoff company – is one of two local companies to have been ranked among the top 100 private cleantech companies in the world and in the top 10 for the Asia-Pacific region.
One of Windlab’s wind monitoring masts at Coopers Gap, Qld – the WindScape mapping and modelling tool is good at locating prospective sites for inland wind farms.
Credit: Windlab Systems
The Global Cleantech 100 – published annually by US research company Cleantech Group – recognises the most promising and innovative companies in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, water, waste, and low carbon technology that are likely to make the biggest impact in the next 5–10 years.
Windlab began in 2003 when CSIRO scientists Dr Keith Ayotte and Dr Nathan Steggel left the organisation in order to commercialise a CSIRO wind-modelling and mapping program.
The WindScape program has since been developed into a sophisticated tool that can determine a site’s wind-resource potential by generating high-resolution maps from existing meteorological data of mean annual wind speed and annual energy yield for target sites.
The information on wind patterns is combined with powerline and land-use data to assess proximity of grid connections and land-use types in the vicinity.
This integration of data reduces risk by shortening development timeframes. It also increases the likelihood of selected sites leading to commercially viable projects that address local community and environmental concerns.
Dr Ayotte says one of the biggest constraints in Australia is the sparse electricity grid.
‘You tend to find yourself scratching around for places that are windy and near the grid,’ he says. ‘We have the advantage, because we can really burrow down into the data to find less obvious locations.’
Windlab Systems has a pipeline of projects representing a combined 6500 MW in North America, Australasia and South Africa.
The other Australian company included in the Global Cleantech list was Barefoot Power, which specialises in providing cost-effective solar phone charging, solar lighting products and business development services to people in developing countries.
This year, 4274 companies from more than 45 countries were nominated for the top 100 list.
Source: The Climate Spectator