Developing a wind farm site is an inherently uncertain venture

Combining remote sensing measurement tools with 60-meter meteorological tower data is an accurate, cost-effective alternative to collecting wind information vs. with 80-meter met towers alone, according to a cost analysis from Second Wind.

The analysis determined that one wind study using Second Wind’s Triton remote sensing system and one 60-meter meteorological tower costs 35 percent less than the same study using an 80-meter met tower. Because of the portability of Second Wind’s remote sensing system, the savings mount to 45 percent if two wind studies are conducted. A met tower and a remote sensing system working together can also obtain data from a larger range of heights than a met tower alone. This is critical information in financing and siting typical commercial wind turbines, with 80-meter hub heights and rotor sweeps that reach up to 120 meters. That cost effectiveness and accuracy gives wind developers more options for evaluating sites where erecting an 80-meter met tower would be prohibitively expensive or impossible because of federal height regulations, local restrictions, or physical obstacles.

"Developing a wind farm site is an inherently uncertain venture, so anything that reduces the uncertainty is a valuable addition to our toolbox of solutions," said Nathan Steggel, president and co-founder of international wind energy developer Windlab. "Combining remote sensing measurement systems with 60-meter met towers, which are easier to permit and implement than 80-meter towers, reduces the financial uncertainties of wind farm site development. The lower cost leaves more capital free for other investments, and the larger range of data gives us better insight about the wind resources on a particular site."

Second Wind analyzed the costs of a study using its ProMast™ 60 met tower, Triton® Sonic Wind Profiler, and SkyServe® Wind Data Service. Using SkyServe adds additional value to the wind study by bringing together the remote sensing and tower data onto one secure, cloud-based dashboard.

ProMast 60 is a 60-meter met tower that offers wind developers an economical tower solution and complete flexibility in configuring measurement systems. 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 capable of 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.

"In this application, we see remote sensing as a tower extender, delivering higher height data critical to wind farm project financing," said Second Wind CEO Larry Letteney. "With Triton, SkyServe and our ProMast 60 tower, wind developers have the most cost-effective way to move their projects forward."

Second Wind provides the wind energy industry with the intelligence required to plan, finance and operate highly efficient, profitable wind farm 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.