Eighteen months ago, Acciona and the CADET Virtual Reality Training and Simulation Research Lab at Deakin University entered into a partnership to develop a bespoke renewable energy Virtual Reality (VR) experience.
The tool, modeled on Acciona’s Mortlake South Wind Farm, will be used to aid community members in visualizing what a wind farm looks like, whilst also experiencing different project characteristics – all without users having to leave their own home.
The digital platform that Deakin has developed provides innovative new capabilities not often found in VR experiences, including the ability for multiple users to tour the wind farm together in VR as well as being able to use just their bare hands to interact with VR. Users can also do things that would not be possible in the real world such as change the direction of the wind and look at the inner workings of the turbine from over 100m above the ground.
Designed to be a portable experience for use at events, conferences, and community visits, the experience runs for approximately 10 minutes and utilizes Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR goggles, a laptop and router (required when presenting to multiple users). There is also a 360-degree version of the VR experience which is intended to operate independently of a headset and can be accessed via a web browser. Acciona’s Managing Director Brett Wickham said:
“We are excited to officially launch this tool and we see it as a chance to disrupt the way stakeholders, community members and students alike are able to visualize and interact with future wind farms and learn more about renewable energy.”
The partnership between Acciona and Deakin University is a result of the Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) reverse auction, which ran in 2018 and helped to bring the Mortlake South Wind Farm to life.
Associate Professor Ben Horan, Director of the CADET Virtual Reality Training and Simulation Research Lab said Deakin was extremely proud of the product that the research team had produced.
“Unlike many industries who have had to scale back their workforce during COVID, our team have been able to continue to work on this project, with programming largely unaffected.”
Mr Wickham said:
“Once COVID travel restrictions are lifted we look forward to sharing this fantastic tool with community members. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to access the 360-degree version of the experience, which is available to view on Acciona’s YouTube channel.”