Australian renewable energy start-up, Windlab Systems, is moving forward with its proprietary wind-mapping software suite, thanks to an $8.4 million venture capital infusion primarily from the sustainability arm of global venture capital firm, Lend Lease Ventures.
Windlab seeks to take advantage of a rush in wind farm investments that is expected to follow Australia's recently introduced target to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
"Passing of the mandated target... really gives the industry much more certainty," said Mark Sinclair CEO of Windlabs Systems, in a recent interview with ABC News (Australia). Sinclair said the new target would have a "particularly strong impact on emerging renewable energy businesses in Australia."
But as the energy industry is a global one, Windlab plans on assisting the development of wind farms in more than Australia.
"We have got our foot in on an impressive pipeline of project opportunities in Canada, the US, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand," Sinclair said. " This funding, along with revenues from our partnership activities, will help mature the business, and the IPO will bring in additional funding to take the next step in delivering projects and having operating assets."
"The major competitive advantage of our technology is that it takes the guesswork out of identifying the best sites at which to develop vital wind energy projects acceptable to local communities, even before the first visits to those sites to determine their viability," Mr Sinclair added.
Windlab output includes high resolution maps of mean annual wind speed and annual energy yield. These maps can be combined, within a GIS environment, with maps of transmission lines and other quantities to facilitate the wind prospecting process.
"Using the technology, we can source the best possible project opportunities, with the lowest community impact, the lowest project risks, and work with all our stakeholders to develop world class wind generation facilities."
Windlab Systems was spun out of the atmospheric research unit of an Australian government scientific research organization in 2003, and has since been responsible for the creation of wind atlases for the Australian federal government and several state governments.
Sinclair predicted a four-fold expansion over the next couple of years, adding that he expects the company to be worth $A250m by 2011, at which time it may seek another round of funding in an IPO.