NREL experts examine a 3D model of wind plant aerodynamics that shows how wakes impact downwind turbines. Credit: Dennis Shroeder via NREL.
How much energy a wind farm is going to produce is the single biggest driver of wind farm economics. That’s why accurately predicting wind farm output has long been a major focus area for the wind power industry.
Despite some rumblings in the press to the contrary, the wind industry has improved the accuracy of its energy production forecasts in recent years. Recent studies by AWS Truepower and DNV GL have shown that projects installed in recent years have performed at or very close to the predicted levels of production. Advances in wind resource assessment methodology have largely been missed by those not in the wind resource assessment community, but they offer powerful benefits to the industry. A few key areas of advancement include:
- Real-world methods of predicting the power performance of increasingly larger wind turbines
- Wind flow modeling techniques that more accurately reflect atmospheric conditions
- Better understanding of wind farm wake losses, which occur when wind turbines create a wake, curtailing the amount of wind available for downwind turbines
Improved energy output projections is another wind power success story that will enhance wind power’s competitiveness in the market for years to come. More accurate production forecasts reduce the cost of capital—predictable energy production equates to more stable cash flows, which in turn attract more investment.
The AWEA Wind Resource Assessment Seminar in Orlando next week is the nexus point for everything concerning wind farm production, the place where meteorologists and engineers highlight recent advances and debate the critical issues affecting wind resource assessment. This event will be critical for those who are involved in resource assessment, and beneficial to all of the industry.