Article image

How much power can wind farms generate?

If humanity is going to reduce the devastating impacts that greenhouse gases have on global warming over the next few decades, it will be essential for us to put worldwide mitigation into action. One potential strategy is to replace greenhouse gas usage with energy produced by wind farms, a solution that a new study is rigorously assessing.

Researchers from Three Gorges University of China set out to examine the diurnal and seasonal patterns of wind speeds and their ability to produce energy. The research comes at a time when the cost of wind energy technology is decreasing, and relevant research and incentive policies are increasing. 

Despite these advancements, wind farms will need to be made more efficient if they are going to replace the use of fossil fuels. However, this will only be achieved if a formal and universal assessment process is developed to measure the efficiency of wind farming.

“In wind farm planning, decision-makers need to select an appropriate site for wind farm installation,” explained study co-author Shuwei Miao. “We developed a seasonal adequacy assessment procedure using historical wind speed data, wind turbine parameters, system peak load, and other important factors that can help inform decisions on wind farm siting and operation.”

The researchers confirmed the accuracy of their results by comparing them to wind site data collected in North Dakota, which helped them to develop the procedure for seasonal adequacy assessments.

“Wind speed associates with uncertainty along with the season, terrain, and climate,” said Miao. “And it also determines the energy production potential. If a power system contains considerable wind farm capacities, then the capability of system generation to meet system load will be heavily influenced by uncertain wind speed. This capability refers to system adequacy, and the quantitative assessment of system adequacy can be helpful to optimal wind farm planning.”

The first phase of the simulation model examines the probability distribution of wind speed across 24-hour periods, with the second phase considering wind patterns across a seasonal basis. When combined, these two phases are designed to deliver highly applicable insights into how efficiently the naturally occurring energy resource of wind can be utilized.

“We believe our findings are valuable to wind energy development and production,” said Miao. “When historical wind speed data, wind turbine parameters, and other data for a candidate site in other regions are available, the model and procedure presented in this study can be readily applicable to simulate the wind profile and assess the seasonal system adequacy indices.”

The study is published in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

By Calum Vaughan, Staff Writer

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day