July 05, 2011
Remote sensing is winning broader acceptance in the wind industry as wind farm developers use it to measure wind characteristics such as in-flow angle and turbulence and investors gain confidence in remote sensing data. This is the message that emerged from the annual Triton User Group sponsored by wind intelligence technology company Second Wind at WINDPOWER® 2011 in Anaheim in May.
Independent engineers, consultants, and Second Wind Triton® Sonic Wind Profiler customers envisioned a broader role for remote sensing in their comments at the Triton User Group and workshop sessions held prior to the American Wind Energy Association's annual conference. Remote sensing is a logical option as the wind power industry searches for new ways to reduce the uncertainty of evaluating and financing wind power projects, they said.
Second Wind's Triton is an advanced remote sensing system that uses sodar (sound detection and ranging) technology to measure wind in the areas that most affect a wind turbine’s performance. By measuring wind speeds at the turbine rotor's hub height and beyond, Triton reduces uncertainty in annual energy production (AEP) forecasts. Easy to install and with autonomous operation, Tritons are being used throughout the wind industry, alone or in conjunction with met towers, to streamline the wind farm development process and to improve wind farm operations.
The Triton User Group meeting -- held at WINDPOWER for the third year in a row -- included a panel discussion on deploying Tritons as part of enhanced wind resource campaigns. The panel included representatives of AWS Truepower, Chinook Wind, DNV Renewables, and GL Garrad Hassan. Discussion ranged from greenfield prospecting to updates on the role remote sensing will have in a new International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) power curve standard.
As one Triton User Group panelist stated to general agreement, Triton makes a valuable contribution to the project financing process by lowering the cost of prospecting, reducing uncertainty in wind resource assessment, and providing better insight into wind flow.
One theme echoed by multiple panelists and in the technical sessions was concern that the portability of Triton and other remote sensors might encourage wind prospectors to do shorter measurement campaigns. "We cannot complete a wind resource assessment in a week!" said one panelist. His message was reinforced by another panelist's assertion that "short-term measurement campaigns won't sufficiently reduce uncertainty and can lead to incorrect conclusions."
Evaluating complex terrain was a recurring subject. More than half of the Second Wind customers at one session said they are using Tritons on topographically complex sites and finding that the results correlate well with conventional tower-mounted instruments.
Throughout the conference, discussions focused on the importance of reducing uncertainty in wind resource assessments, and the increasing role that remote sensing systems play in reducing uncertainty. During a panel discussion on the future of resource assessment, Gisela Kroess, Managing Director, Project & Commodity Finance, UniCredit Bank AG, told the audience that the main source of the widely reported 10 percent underperformance of North American wind farms in recent years is due to overestimating wind speeds - a consequence of using flawed methods of measurement and extrapolation.
“The comments and observations we heard during our Triton User Group forums reveal a strong interest in using remote sensing systems to their full advantage," said Larry Letteney, Second Wind CEO. “We’re looking forward to being part of the solution for reducing uncertainty in wind power development, making wind farms more profitable, and ultimately expanding the industry.”
About Second Wind
Second Wind provides the wind energy industry with the intelligence required to plan, finance and operate highly efficient, profitable wind generation facilities. Second Wind's WindIQ initiative helps the wind industry transform data into insight, making wind information more valuable, accessible, and meaningful. Second Wind's integrated product and service offerings include SkyServe® web-based wind data service; the Triton® Sonic Wind Profiler; the ProMast™ 60 met mast; and Nomad® 2 Wind Data Logger systems. For more information about Boston-based Second Wind, please visit www.secondwind.com.
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