Wind Energy_LiDAR:The key to increase yields

SWE 2014 08

Wind Energy lidar The key to increase yields Wind-generated electricity is globally exposed to a growing cost pressure. As a consequence of that the primary concern of every developer and operator must be to search for opportunities to utterly exploit their project’s potentials. LiDAR technology may be one way. Once the turbine’s blades are spinning, the possibilities for optimizations are restricted to technical fine-tuning of yaw control or other components and smart service and maintenance strategies for the enhancement of the technical availability of the turbines. However, the biggest potentials to increase yields and earnings of a wind energy project are located long before the erection of the turbines, in the very beginning of the development phase. Acquiring a detailed knowledge of the project site’s wind conditions seems to be the very key for the finding of the most efficient solutions. And the latest technical developments, namely the evolution of highly precise and flexible remote sensing devices (RSD) like the LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging), open up new possibilities to create an informative complete picture of the project site’s potentials. Traditionally, wind speed and wind direction are measured with mechanical sensor technology like cup anemometers and wind vanes mounted on meteorological masts. According to international standards, those masts have at least two thirds of the hub height. For predictions about the wind profile of the entire swept rotor area extrapolations are necessary – a method that implicates a significant degree of uncertainty. The same holds true for predictions about the wind speed at other areas of larger project sites, especially in complex terrain. The ideal wind farm layout The target must be to minimise those uncertainties in order to be able to find the ideal solution with respect to turbine’s specifications and site layout: knowing the best spots for the turbines can significantly increase the yields of a project, especially when multiplied by the supposed twenty years of operation. However, the performance of the wind turbines is not only reflected by the energy output but also by robustness of technology. The detailed knowledge of the meteorological parameters allows designing and selecting the most appropriate turbine technology. For those reasons the state-of-the-art in wind resource evaluation implies the use of LiDAR technology alongside traditional met masts. Recent LiDAR systems allow wind measurements at multiple heights and up to 200 meters, providing highly reliable results comparable The energy-autonomous LiDAR measurement trailer is equipped with PV and fuel cells. Photo: BBB Umwelttechnik 46 Sun & Wind Energy 8+9/2014


SWE 2014 08
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