Fundamental to any wind development is understanding the available wind resource at the site to ensure that the predicted energy production and therefore revenue from the wind turbine is accurate.
It is good practice to measure the wind at the exact location of the proposed wind turbine and at or close to the proposed hub height. We can provide wind monitoring masts from up to 30 metres high and beyond that SODAR or LIDAR equipment can be provided, depending on the size of wind turbine you are considering.
An increasingly popular (and cheaper) alternative to on-site wind speed measurements is the Met Office’s Virtual Met Mast (VMM) service. This uses their detailed UK wind speed dataset and supercomputers to predict the wind regime at a site with remarkable accuracy. Actual on-site measurements would are still be preferred, particularly at larger or windier sites, but VMM is increasingly used on low to medium wind speed sites, particularly for single turbines.
More details can be found on the Met Office’s website http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/renewables/vmm. Renewables First routinely specifies the site parameters for VMM reports and can aggregate multiple-sites together to get more favourable prices from the Met Office.
Also note that for windier sites with ‘complex terrain’, it is as important to know the wind ‘turbulence intensity’ as it is the average wind speed. This is because the loading on the wind turbine is determined by how strong the wind is and also how ‘gusty’ it is. Some manufacturers will not provide the full warranty on a wind turbine unless you can prove what the turbulence intensity is at the site. A value for turbulence intensity is provided by the more comprehensive VMM reports, but for windier sites many manufacturers will require on-site wind measurements.
Want to install a wind turbine?
If you are in the UK then take our Wind Site Self-Assessment - The first step to provide information we need to complete a Windpower Feasibility Study. It takes about 20 minutes to work through the basic checks, including:
- Estimating wind speed
- Checking proximity of nearby properties
- Checking site access and approach roads
- Investigating connection with the grid