PEC Energia, one of Brazil's foremost renewable energy developers, is nearing completion of a $435 million, 150 MW wind park in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, and, during the project development stages, relied on Vaisala's Triton remote sensing system for crucial wind measurement data.
The Triton Wind Profiler is manufactured by Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Renewable energy developers and operators use Vaisala's systems and services to enable efficient, reliable, and profitable development and operation. Triton is an advanced, ground-based remote sensing system that measures wind at the turbine rotor's hub-height and beyond, reducing uncertainty in annual energy production (AEP) forecasts.
Triton is now being used by the wind energy industry worldwide to supplement or, in some cases, replace meteorological towers. Triton is safer, more cost-effective, and more versatile than met towers; it is a movable capital asset that can be deployed in more than one location and used in many applications requiring accurate wind measurement.
Over the past decade, Brazil's wind power sector has grown in leaps and bounds, driven by technological advances in the industry and global market conditions, and enhanced by favorable Brazilian energy reforms and the country's rich wind resource. Brazil is now one of the most promising markets worldwide for both domestic and international developers.
However, as the market has developed, so too has the complexity and rigor of the financial and policy environment in which wind energy developers must operate. In order to rapidly develop the country's clean energy resources and meet growing demand that often exceeds capacity, the Brazilian government regularly conducts energy auctions. About half of new wind energy developments proceed through the national auction process, for which bidding requirements were recently made more stringent.
The task of meeting auction and project financing requirements is further complicated by Brazil's topography, which includes large areas of complex terrain.
The need for increased confidence in energy projections, along with the challenges of measurement in remote locations, drove PEC Energia to become a leader in the adoption of remote sensing technology in its wind resource assessment projects. Vaisala's Triton Wind Profiler, which has been successfully used in dozens of development sites throughout Brazil, has allowed the developer to validate met tower data and reduce estimate uncertainty, particularly in geographically challenging regions.
Unlike other remote sensing systems, Vaisala's Triton is virtually self-powered. This is of critical importance for measuring wind in off-grid areas that cannot easily be visited, such as the vast, remote parcels of land under development by Brazil's wind industry.
"The PEC Energia team invested early in remote sensing technology because we see its potential for helping us meet Brazil's rapid wind development goals," says Carlos Bergamo, PEC Energia's Director of Engineering.
"PEC Energia's use of the Triton forms a key part of our best-practice approach to wind resource assessment - allowing us to make decisions with confidence throughout the development process. At Pernambuco, the system enabled us to work more efficiently and cost-effectively during the assessment process, since we were able to deploy a single mobile Triton unit in a number of locations, where we couldn't have installed multiple meteorological towers."
"Deployment of meteorological towers in some of these more geographically challenging areas is costly and sometimes nearly impossible," added Elder Rampazzo, a mechanical engineer at PEC Energia, who is responsible for evaluating the electricity generation potential from the company's renewable energy projects.
"Thanks to the easy mobility of the Triton, we have it scheduled to do brief campaigns on five or six development parcels during the next year. This is a revolutionary development from the expensive, immobile towers often used for wind resource assessments."
As activity within the Latin American market accelerates, Vaisala has continued to develop its regional product and service portfolio in order to meet the needs of local developers, owners, operators, and investors. To date Vaisala has supported early-stage development and prospecting activity in markets that include Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile. This, combined with its office in Rio de Janeiro and a growing staff base, has enabled new and existing clients to rapidly develop operations within key growth countries.
Source: Vaisala Energy