School of Engineering and IT

National Small Wind Turbine Test Centre

Murdoch University has played an important role in supporting the development of the Australian wind turbine industry for nearly 20 years. Historically, MUERI had a close collaboration with local manufacturer Westwind turbines (no longer in Australia). Westwind turbines produced the 60kW turbines for Australia’s very first wind farm at Salmon Beach, Esperance in 1984. From 1993 – 2006 Murdoch University assisted Westwind in the development of a range of small wind turbines for the Remote Area Power Supply Systems (RAPs) market. This included the demonstration of the 20kW turbine at the Exmouth Advanced Mini Wind Farm.

Building on this track record, in August 2008 the Research Institute of Sustainable Energy (RISE) at Murdoch was awarded a $1million grant from the Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to establish the National Small Wind Turbine Test Centre (NSWTC). The new Centre augments the existing wind turbine monitoring and assessment resources available at Murdoch University. The aim of the NSWTC is to promote the small wind turbine (SWT) market and industry in Australia by providing services in the areas of Testing, Standards and Labelling, Professional Development and Training, and Research.

To date the NSWTC has:

  • Installed monitoring equipment for 4 different SWTs, including 2 Australian manufacturers.
  • Assisted in the development of a new international standard for SWTs
  • Assisted in the development of an international recommended practice for consumer labelling of SWTs
  • Participated in a trial labelling of SWTs that is being coordinated by the International Energy Agency(IEA) Task 27
  • Published a summary on the status of SWTs in Australia for the IEA Small Wind Annual Report 2010.
  • Run short professional courses on SWTs
  • Run practical workshops on the installation and maintenance of SWTs for system installers and students
  • Undertaken wind resource mapping for local governments

Staff working on Small Wind Turbines

Academic staff

Dr. Jonathan Whale – SWT standards, SWTs in non-open terrain, SWT policy, SWT power performance testing and training and accreditation for SWT installers.

NSWTC Staff

Daniel Jones – Manager
Kim Ritchie – Wind Test Engineer

Students

Sazzad Hussein - MSc (Renewable Energy)
Brad Evans (PhD candidate) – wind resource mapping

Murdoch staff associated with the NSWTC

Prof. Tom Lyons – real-time forecasting, meso-scale modelling
Dr. Martina Calais – integration of small wind into hybrid renewable energy systems

Collaborators

Dr. Mark McHenry – SWT policy, technology, and training