The U.S. Department of Energy’s WINDExchange offers tools for modeling, mapping, and optimizing wind-power applications. That includes models for predicting financial and economic outcomes, understanding potential habitat implications and identifying legal considerations. WINDExchange also offers multiple wind site analysis tools.
For example, the Wind Prospector tool: “Helps developers view high-level siting issues with large-scale wind farms by providing easy access to GIS-based wind resource datasets and other data relevant to siting wind power projects,” according to the WINDExchange website.
Among other available maps is the Wind Power Icing Atlas (WIceAtlas) from Finland’s VTT Technical Research Center. Using historical icing weather condition data, WIceAtlas estimates the impact of icing on annual energy production. This information is “critical, since there are no international standards for estimating icing losses in any way,” notes VTT.
The publicly available WIceAtlas also identifies ice throw risks, turbine lifetime, and appropriate wind-turbine models for the intended site.
In addition to consulting cold hard facts, Task 19 also recommends surveying nearby land and wind farm owners about cold climate (CC) conditions in the area. The updated report focuses on available technologies for solving CC challenges.
“We want to gather all the available information and be a hub for all best practices,” says Lehtomaki. The updated 2019-2021 Work Plan is “extremely ambitious,” adds Lehtomaki. “We’re going to be doing some very new things.”
kPower’s analysis concluded AWES Upper Wind is a spatially new resource. If conventional surface wind sites require ideal siting for best economics, AWES promises to open up a vaster superior resource of Upper-Wind, and therefore will exploit countless sites that will never be ideal for conventional turbines. We won’t have to cover our “ideal windfarm location” ridgetops with turbines, if upper-wind is tapped abundantly enough.
The hope is that AWE beaks the spatial-economic tyranny of current windfarm “location, location. location”.