Wind measurement campaigns and virtual series to reduce risks in wind projects


    This paper was presented at the 7° Encuentro y Feria Renovables Latam by Ana Maria Serna Florez from Barlovento Applus+.

    Wind energy projects require substantial investment, making it crucial to accurately assess the meteorological factors influencing wind turbine performance to minimize project risks.

    Proper assessment of meteorological variables will ensure the viability and efficiency of the wind farm. The variables considered in these analyses include wind speed, direction, and gusts, as well as temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and other meteorological factors.

    Instruments to measure wind, like anemometers, meteorological towers, and simulation models, are frequently employed to gather and analyze these data. Inaccurate or insufficient measurement of specific meteorological variables can lead to risks such as decreased production efficiency, increased operational failures (errors in site classification), and discrepancies between estimated and financial models.

    There are different methods to evaluate the wind resource and other weather-related variables affecting a wind farm project, such as wind flow models, environmental observatories and institutes, and satellite-based methods, but we mainly focus on wind measurement campaigns and virtual series.

    Wind measurement campaigns are detailed studies involving the installation of equipment like meteorological masts or remote sensing devices to record wind characteristics over time in a specific location. These campaigns help reduce uncertainties and ensure the project meets both performance and safety standards necessary for financing and development. Some of the developed wind projects undergo a preliminary analysis to verify their feasibility without considering on-site measurements. However, these campaigns are crucial to ensure bankability and reduce risks. The uncertainties associated with a quality measurement campaign are significantly lower than those of its virtual counterpart, and the estimation of wind speed is more reliable when on-site measurements are available.

    Virtual series refer to wind data generated through computational models and simulations that rely on past weather records, satellite data, and atmospheric analyses to forecast wind patterns. Although virtual series are valuable for preliminary evaluations, they generally come with more significant uncertainty than on-site measurements.

    At Barlovento Applus+, we recommend the estimation of the wind resource and meteorological variables based on wind measurement campaigns taken at the project site along with long-term virtual series, which reduces errors in forecasting the future production of the wind farm and also decreases the risk of issues arising from extreme events.

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