Long-term wind resource fluctuations highlight need to factor yearly variability into crucial regulatory decisions
Analysis of wind speed trends in Germany for the years 2009-2015, conducted by Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement and provider of renewable energy consulting services, has revealed that 2015 was an exceptional year for the German wind energy sector. In the context of proposed policy changes putting the brakes on wind energy investment in the northern states, Vaisala’s data illustrates that regulators need to look carefully at the year-to-year variability of the wind resource as a key factor in regional decision-making.
Having experienced rapid wind energy growth in recent years, the German market is currently coming to terms with overcapacity challenges that are putting strain on the grid network. Northern Germany, in particular, has a high proportion of assets in operation and under construction, and considerable investment into north-south transmission infrastructure is required to address this potential bottleneck. This situation has encouraged calls to limit new wind energy construction in the northern states. However, it is highly important that any such decision not only takes account of installed capacity, but also factors in the impact of inter-annual wind resource fluctuations on actual production.
Vaisala’s Wind Performance Maps, released today, show that wind resource in 2015 was up to 10% above average in northern Germany. This is in contrast to most years covered in Vaisala’s 2009-2015 analysis, when the northern states experienced wind speeds below the 40-year long-term average. Production data from the IWR Wind Index confirms that the coastal region of Germany saw a total wind power generation increase of 8.8% in 2015 compared to the previous five years. In just two of the past six years, 2015 and 2011, have wind speeds in Germany risen above this long-term average. In the other four years, wind speeds were either at or slightly below average. In 2010, wind speeds dropped to 8% below average across much of the northern Germany state of Lower Saxony. Production figures for the wider coastal region show a 15% dip in generation for the same period. The difference in wind speed directly affects the amount of energy produced by a wind farm. Vaisala’s observations of the impact of wind speed fluctuations on production are further supported by nationwide figures, which show that, while new installed capacity in Germany in 2015 increased by 10% in comparison to 2014, overall wind energy generation increased by 51%. Vaisala’s performance maps also highlight the difference between northern and southern German states. In 2015, where the whole of northern Germany is above average for wind speeds, much of the country south of Frankfurt, including Baden Württemberg and Bavaria, experienced wind speeds well below average for the nation.
This difference in average wind speeds between the two regions highlights the importance of wind farms in northern Germany to energy consumers throughout the country. “The German government proposal to manage over production of wind power by limiting new capacity over the coming years shall not reduce pressure on the crux of the problem – namely the lack of transmission infrastructure,” said Nihat Hünerli, EMEA Regional Manager for Vaisala’s energy business unit.
“However, given the role played by North German wind farms in the national energy mix, it is essential that a full understanding of long-term resource variability is achieved prior to any decision to curb investment.” “2015 is an outlier for northern Germany in terms of wind speeds. It’s therefore prudent to consider how these results fit into longer-term trends. Since the recent 4100 GWh over-production by wind energy represents a tiny fraction of Germany’s more than 600 TWh annual energy production, our maps would suggest that the pace Germany has set for wind development is about right, to continue to meet demand.”
IEA and OPEC debated the current situation in global oil markets
Leaders expressed deep concerns about the grave global health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its related impacts on the stability of economies and markets, notably in developing countries.
The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr Fatih Birol, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, spoke by phone to review the current situation in global oil markets.
The two leaders expressed deep concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is already a grave and unprecedented global health crisis with potentially far-reaching economic and social consequences. Dr Birol and SG Barkindo assessed the impact of the virus and the recent broad-based financial and oil market volatility on the global economy. In particular, they discussed the inherent risks of the fast-evolving dynamics, including the most recent developments in global oil markets. They agreed that these create material impacts, particularly for citizens of developing countries including those that rely heavily on income from oil and gas production for essential services and that are especially vulnerable to market volatility.
Dr Birol and SG Barkindo reviewed the impact on vulnerable developing countries and noted that if current market conditions continue, their income from oil and gas will fall by 50% to 85% in 2020, reaching the lowest levels in more than two decades, according to recent IEA analysis. This is likely to have major social and economic consequences, notably for public sector spending in vital areas such as healthcare and education.
They both underscored the importance of market stability, as the impacts of extreme volatility are felt by producers, particularly in terms of much needed income, and by both producers and consumers, who are affected by an unstable and unpredictable market.
SG Barkindo and Dr Birol emphasised the importance of finding ways to minimise the impact of the current situation on vulnerable developing countries. They agreed to remain in close contact on the matter and continue their regular consultations on oil market developments.
Early to assess impact of COVID-19 on European wind energy
The European wind industry is the global leader in the wind turbine market, realising projects in more than 80 countries world-wide. As such, our companies rely on both European and global supply chains for raw materials and components. The COVID-19 virus is impeding international trade, creating delays and uncertainties for different industrial sectors. As the number of infections rises, the European wind industry is likely to be impacted.
First analysis suggests that COVID-19 will have moderate effects on international supply chains for wind energy. With the outbreak of COVID-19 still at a relatively early stage in Europe and other countries, it is too soon to judge its impact on production and revenues in the sector. However, the first logistical delays in the supply chain can be observed already.
“A knock-on effect of a slowdown in China’s manufacturing output is already visible in other countries. The wind industry is, of course, not the only industry feeling the pinch from quarantines, travel restrictions and closed factories. Vehicle and vessel manufacturers, solar-PV panel and battery producers are being similarly affected. We will need to take a strategic approach to ensure that disruption is minimised”, comments WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson with regards to the EU Commission’s Industrial Strategy presented earlier this week.
“With COVID-19 we are likely to see delays in the development of new wind farm projects which could cause developers to miss the deployment deadlines in countries’ auction systems and face financial penalties. Governments should be flexible on how they apply their rules. And if ongoing auctions are undersubscribed because developers can’t bid in time, governments should award what they can and auction the non-awarded volumes at a later stage”, says Dickson.
Leosphere launches Windcube: Power to customers with data and analytics
Windcube Insights is the first out-of-the-box software solution to leverage lidar and turbine data for cost-efficient power performance testing
Leosphere, a Vaisala company that specializes in developing, manufacturing, and servicing turnkey wind lidar (light detection and ranging) instruments for wind energy, aviation, meteorology, and air quality, today announced the launch of Windcube Insights at Wind Operations Europe 2020 in Munich. Windcube Insights is a proprietary data analytics software designed specifically for the Windcube Nacelle (previously called Wind Iris) nacelle-mounted lidar that simplifies the wind turbine power performance testing process.
“This new tool empowers operators with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)-compliant data to verify that turbines are performing as promised so they can maximize the energy output of their wind farm,” said Alexandre Sauvage, CEO of Leosphere. “The easy-to-use software allows operators to perform power performance testing and suggest operational optimization — quickly, accurately and efficiently.”
Windcube Insights enables true and fully transparent data analysis and reporting for Windcube Nacelle customers — all within a web-based user interface. The software is the first in the industry to enable the upload of both Windcube Nacelle lidar and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) turbine performance data with a simplified data synchronization process.
The method of operation:
- A variety of standardized lidar and turbine data filters are available and fully configurable by the user, simplifying preparation of the data sets.
- The software leverages those data sets to calculate and display the power curve, and the complete set of IEC requirements can be applied with embedded guidelines that reference the proper IEC standard sections, making the service fully transparent and understandable.
- The production data, along with standardized uncertainties, are calculated and can be exported in the form of a traditional report table.
Wind Turbine Power Curve Determination Value
The handling of IEC standard requirements for issuing a power performance test (PPT) is complex, requires deep expertise, and represents a potential source of error. However, such testing is necessary for regulatory compliance, warranty verification and turbine performance verification during both the development and operations phases. Determining the power curve of a wind turbine in accordance with recognized standards is valuable because the power curve is one of the most important characteristics of the economic value of a wind project.
The Windcube Nacelle lidar measures the wind conditions at hub height ahead of the turbine, enabling operators and wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to efficiently and accurately assess performance and optimize design and production efficiency. When fully integrated within the wind turbine, Windcube Nacelle enables load reduction, design costs reduction, and continuous production gains.
Seeing the global energy demand accelerate at its fastest pace in more than a decade, wind energy and other clean energies are increasingly becoming further engrained into the world’s equation for energy demand. Since 2010, the size of the global wind power market has increased by 35%, and the global market is expected to approach USD 125 billion by 2030.
“Without Windcube Insights, lidar users would have to build their own software programs to analyze the data being collected by the nacelle lidar and the wind turbine,” said Sauvage. “We’ve simplified the process of applying filters, calculating the uncertainties described in recognized IEC standards and displaying data, ultimately creating a simple way to support the utilization of nacelle-mounted lidar following IEC standards and industry best practices. Windcube Insights is just another example of Leosphere’s commitment to innovation and to making our customers’ lives better by introducing tools to help them maximize efficiency and productivity.”
Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements, acquired Leosphere in 2018. For more information on how Leosphere provides the most comprehensive lidar-based wind measurement systems to markets around the globe, please visit us on March 5-6 in Munich at Wind Operations Europe 2020 (booth #12).
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