Increase your project value with more measurements

Måns Håkansson, PHD, Wind & Site at Statkraft:
“We consider the AQ500 a very useful tool for wind site assessments. In our most recent project with the AQ500, we used altogether three units in parallel with a met mast and were thus able to run simultaneous measurements at four separate points for a period of four months. As a result we were able to raise the project’s P90 value with several percent.”

In large wind power projects, one met mast is usually not sufficient when the wind resource is to be evaluated. Add complex terrain and it is even more difficult to get a good estimation of the wind resource  variation in the project area. The use of numerical flow models is inevitable. However, the numerical modeling is normally the largest source of uncertainty in a wind power project: The longer the distance between the measurement point and turbine positions the greater uncertainty.

Higher uncertainty in the project means a lower P90 value which in turn is directly proportional to the value of the project. Adding more measurement points in a project on carefully selected locations can reduce the uncertainty significantly and increase the P90. A higher P90 is tremendously important when discussing with investors, as it will result in better financing terms in the project.

What type of equipment should be used in a project to achieve a high P90 value? A tall met mast is expensive. This in combination with a tight pre-build budget in the project makes less expensive alternatives attractive. The AQ500 is such an alternative, a remote sensing instrument based on the SODAR-technique. AQ500 is based on more than 40 years of research experience and more than 300 instruments have been sold worldwide. The deployment is extremely easy and there is no need for building permits.

On behalf of Statkraft Sverige AB AQSystem performed a four month measurement campaign including three AQ500 in one of their projects in southern Sweden. Existing measurements in the project consisted of a 100 meter met mast that had been on the site for three years. The size of the project is about 40 MW and the project area consists mainly of production forest. The terrain bordering to the project area in the west is quite steep with slopes of 15–20 percent. Numerical models indicated a very good wind resource in the northwestern parts of the project. The AQ500 positioned in that area verified this indication and thereby provided valuable input for the project management.

The terrain variation within the project area is quite moderate, less than 50 meters, but nevertheless the measurement campaign showed that the wind resource varied extensively over short distances. By using more than one measurement point, the distance to the turbine positions were reduced and numerical modeling uncertainties decreased, resulting in a higher P90 and consequently a higher project value.

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