What makes a wind measurement campaign a good one?

An interesting question that I got asked by a colleague recently, and one that I’d never really thought about. The easiest answer would be to just follow the norm. Or the guidelines. Or the certification body’s specific demands. Or the applicable road map (in which ever version is current). WMO, MEASNET, IEC, IEA, DNV, CarbonTrust to name a few well-known organizations and standarda. They all have their own, sometimes overlapping or conflicting well-intended guidelines on how to run a campaign, but each focused on their own expertise. Is it confusing yet?

For as long as wind measurements have been conducted for wind energy projects, attempts have been made to standardize these measurements. For one obvious reason: Trust! 

As a wind turbine manufacturer, you want to know that your product delivers as per the (drawing board) power curve. As a project developer, you want to know that your site can deliver enough return on your investment using that wind turbine. As a bank, you want to have trust in the ability of the project developer to pay back the loans (and earn you a nice margin on the way). 

So, the crucial element is an entire chain of trust that can be attached to each of your campaign’s elements: from the measurement device, its setup and data processing to the combination with model-results to gap-fill, verify or translate to the final locations of interest. This trust, following ISO-9001-logic, is build up using step-by-step justification and quantification of the decisions made throughout a project’s preparation. In other words: transparency and traceability. 

Whether it is your ‘run-of-the-mill’ ground-based LiDAR campaign, an increasingly rare mast-based quantification, a (prototype) power-curve test or verification, a floating LiDAR, nacelle-based LiDAR or (Dual-) scanning LiDAR: the most crucial thing is ‘the purpose determines the means’.   

So, what is it that you want to achieve? Which challenges are a part of your project, and therefore, what is the best instrument for you? Is your single instrument sufficient, or do you need a combination? Which parameters should you measure (wind speed, turbulence, etc), which heights and for how long and where? With which accuracy? And how representative will these results be? Or, speaking in statistical and financial terms, which uncertainty and attributed P90 values do they result in? 

To return to the initial question of: ‘what makes a wind measurement campaign a good one? Perhaps it would be better to ask ‘What is the best strategy for my wind measurement campaign?’ If you are looking to organize a well-planned, efficient and reliable wind measurement campaign, consider giving us a call. We would love to help you strategize.  

 And, even better still, should you be in the neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to drop at our booth next week in Copenhagen. Please contact my colleagues Bas Verkerk (B.verkerk@ponderaconsult) or Jeroen de Veth (J.deVeth@ponderaconsult.com) to make an appointment. 

Senior Renewable Energy Consultant