Interview: Dr. Gregory S. Poulos

Dr. Gregory S. Poulos,
Founder and CEO at ArcVera Renewables
 

“Our expertise is perfectly suitable to the application of winning tenders”

We provide accurate long-term hourly and short-interval ten-minute time series of energy production estimates to inform the design of hybrid projects. Without a granular, time series approach in methodology, major errors in design and expectations for hybrid performance accrue, and worst-case scenarios persist unmitigated. Our expertise is perfectly suitable to the application of winning tenders, or energy auctions simply because small details and accuracy matter much more with respect to the return-on-investment when compared with a feed-in-tariff structured market, says Dr. Gregory S. Poulos, Founder and CEO, ArcVera Renewables, in an exclusive conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India. Dr. Gregory discussed about his company’s offerings for the Indian market, target customers, long term plans for India etc.

“Shed some light on ArcVera Renewables and its offerings for the Indian renewable energy market?”

ArcVera’s company culture is one of detailed hard work and application of our collective intellect to the goal of reducing project technical risk, providing responsive and accurate guidance, problem-solving and improving the success of renewable energy projects. ArcVera Renewables provides renewable energy technical consulting for hybrid, solar, energy storage, and wind energy projects, through the entire project lifecycle. ArcVera services include development-stage and bankable energy assessments, technology reviews and design, independent engineering, state-of-the science mesoscale numerical weather prediction for wind farms, O&M analysis, operational assessments, and testing, such as wind energy power performance testing. Our services will help India achieve AatmaNirbhar.

“Recently, ArcVera entered footprints into the Indian renewable energy market. What market scope you see here and who will be your target customers?”

ArcVera’s target clients are financial institutions and investors, developers, OEMs, IPPs and utilities working in wind, solar, and energy storage or a hybrid combination of project design. We target stakeholders who need responsive technical services that enable them to make accurate business decisions for the technical challenges they encounter based on reliable information.

“As India is focusing on hybrid project tendering, how will Indian companies benefit from ArcVera’s India market entry?”

ArcVera provides accurate long-term hourly and short-interval ten-minute time series of energy production estimates to inform the design of hybrid projects. Without a granular, time series approach in methodology, major errors in design and expectations for hybrid performance accrue, and worst-case scenarios persist unmitigated. ArcVera’s expertise is perfectly suitable to the application of winning tenders, or energy auctions simply because small details and accuracy matter much more with respect to the return-on-investment when compared with a feed-in-tariff structured market.

“In your view, what are the long-term technical advancements required for India wind energy projects?”

Wind energy in India, and across the globe, requires constant technological improvement to provide compelling economics that can compete with solar and fossil fuel power. That usually means taller towers and larger rotor diameters. However, in order to enable the taller towers and larger rotors, enabling technologies need to be advanced, such as loads sensor integrated into turbine control systems, nacelle-mounted lidar providing input to feed-forward controllers, improved blade materials, new blade concepts such as 2-piece blades, improved gearbox and generator designs, etc. These new technologies will also improve reliability and reduce operations expenses as an added benefit. Finally, we need technological advancements that improve grid integration and reliability and that make wind turbines more compatible with hybrid wind/solar/storage projects. During the development phase of wind energy, technological advancements are required in microscale numerical weather prediction modeling, with and without embedded turbine positions. Also due to the increasing size of turbines, weather observations will be required to heights of up to 300 meters to reduce risk and requiring sophisticated measurement campaign designs.
I feel obligated to address this for solar and hybrid projects as well. In terms of solar energy projects, ArcVera envisions that multi-faceted technological advancements e.g. the adaption of larger module form factor and capacity, utilizations of higher efficiency materials than conventional c-Si, deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) boosted smart systems, etc. will all flourish in the long term, similar to how bifacial systems rapidly dominated the market over the recent years. In addition, project lifespans are becoming longer in the future which requires major equipment with higher reliability; hybridization among different form of renewables like wind + solar + energy storage will grow significantly. Novel technologies that better integrate among them and will be better suited for the future electricity grid will also emerge and mature.

“What kind of investment or expansion plans does ArcVera have in next five years for Indian market?”

Our goal is to increase investor and market confidence in India’s renewable energy so that the market flourishes and, more importantly for health and energy competitiveness.
In the near term ArcVera will develop an assessment production team and an engineering team in India, working with US headquarters expertise to build a substantial technical team comprising Indian nationals serving the APAC and Middle East market. In the longer term ArcVera has expansive plans for India and I will leave it at that!

“How do you see India’s call for AatmaNirbhar Bharat on global perspective?”

ArcVera will provide bankable energy yield assessment reports for wind and solar projects enabling investors and stakeholders to take informed decisions on their investment viabilities. Due to the inherently distributed nature of renewable energy power plants and the vast solar and wind resources in India, energy self-reliance for India is entirely possible. Please also refer to my answer in the first question.

“What is the significance of an accurate pre-construction performance prediction and the assessment of a power plant? How accurate is ArcVera’s assessment? Any case study?”

We have completed an objective study of 31 wind farms for which ArcVera had previously completed pre-construction bankable energy production assessments and compared the results, using our current wind energy resource assessment techniques, to reported revenue-meter production. The most important results include mean performance of 99.9% of P50 pre-construction projected energy production, and an industry-leading standard deviation of performance under 5%. These results mean that our techniques provide results that have the lowest probability of errant P50 energy production estimates. This study is available for interested parties.

Interview 11/11/2020 by Manu Tayal
 
 
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