Masdar’s 500-megawatt Zarafshan wind farm will be the largest renewables project in Central Asia
LOUISVILLE, Colo., Dec. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — IdentiFlight® is pleased to announce that the IdentiFlight avian detection technology will be utilized throughout a wind farm development in Zarafshan, Uzbekistan. The 500-megawatt wind project will be Uzbekistan’s first utility-scale wind farm and the largest renewables project in Central Asia. IdentiFlight will provide 74 units for coverage for the entire wind farm, protecting 12 avian species, including species of endangered Old World vultures.
Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, recently announced the financial close of the Zarafshan wind project. The project will provide enough electricity to power 500,000 homes while displacing 1.1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Commercial operation is expected to begin by the end of 2024.
“IdentiFlight is thrilled to be a part of this landmark renewable energy project in Uzbekistan,” said Don Mills, IdentiFlight President and Chief Operating Officer. “Masdar and the country of Uzbekistan are setting an example of responsibility and respect for the region’s unique avian wildlife for all subsequent projects. Though these bird species are not legally protected, they acknowledge that they are highly valued in the region and their protection is paramount.”
The Zarafshan Wind Farm
Masdar’s Zarafshan wind farm project is supported by a global team of anchor lenders including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Uzbekistan is aiming to derive 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2026, and is collaborating with lenders, development partners, and the private sector, to promote renewable energy solutions and fuel Uzbekistan’s green growth.
IdentiFlight Addressing Challenging Terrain and New Species
“IdentiFlight will provide full coverage of the Zarafshan site. Our technology has been proven highly effective in challenging terrain with steep ridgelines, similar to this location, and we are confident that IdentiFlight will provide optimal protection,” said Carlos Jorquera, IdentiFlight Chief Technology Officer.
“Additionally, we look forward to adding as many as 12 new species to our growing list of birds we currently protect,” Jorquera said. “One of the advantages of the IdentiFlight system is its ability to learn from the massive amounts of data that it collects daily. By leveraging artificial intelligence technologies, such as machine-learning and convolutional neural networks, the system continuously improves as the data set grows.”
The IdentiFlight system is commercially deployed at projects around the world. Multi-year, independent research has confirmed that IdentiFlight reduces fatalities in wind farms by 85 percent.
How IdentiFlight Works
The IdentiFlight system blends artificial intelligence with high-precision optical technology to detect eagles and other protected avian species. Proprietary software and neural network technologies process the images to determine 3D position, velocity, trajectory, and protected species of interest, all within seconds of detection. IdentiFlight towers operate as an autonomous system detecting, classifying, and curtailing specific turbines that could pose a risk to the bird. The system detects a bird as far as one kilometer away, classifying it as a protected species such as an eagle (or not) in real time. The IdentiFlight towers can be positioned to cover multiple turbines in a single wind farm. When installed as a network with overlapping arial coverage, the systems work together to provide the most protection possible for avian activity in the area.
IdentiFlight markets, delivers, and operates machine vision and AI technology for avian species detection and is a product of Boulder Imaging. In an operating windfarm, IdentiFlight contributes to bird conservation by helping protect eagles from collisions with rotating wind turbine blades. The system provides informed curtailment to specific turbines to reduce energy loss. In early wind project development, IdentiFlight helps in permitting by accurately quantifying bird activity at prospective sites. The IdentiFlight system has completed multi-year, independent validation and is now being deployed at projects across the U.S. and globally. To learn more about IdentiFlight, please visit www.IdentiFlight.com.
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is one of the world’s largest clean energy companies, advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies to address global sustainability challenges. Established in 2006 and jointly owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Masdar is today active in over 40 countries, helping them to achieve their clean energy objectives and advance sustainable development.
- Zarafshan project webpage https://masdar.ae/Masdar-Clean-Energy/Projects/Zarafshan-Wind-Farm
- Referenced independent research https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2688-8319.12173
- Video and photo media files include the IdentiFlight system operating at a U.S. wind farm and Zarafshan project location terrain imagery