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Windtech International May June 2024 issue






What is the Affect of the Debt Crisis on Wind Energy?

At the moment the world, and especially Europe, is facing a debt crisis. While the sovereign debt increases have been particularly pronounced in only a few eurozone countries, they have become a perceived problem for the area as a whole. The USA is facing a similar problem with its budget crisis, which is solved for the time being but without a long-term solution. The debt crisis has made financing of 'risky' enterprises (such as wind) more difficult to obtain unless greater accuracy of prediction of yield and reliability can be found. The articles in this issue tackle this problem from  different angles and are of timely relevance with regards to the current economic situation.

{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}The article about wind tunnel simulation on page 7 provides details of wind tunnel modelling for atmospheric flow over topography. At present, numerical tools for wind energy assessment usually fail in complex terrain. Additionally, most numerical models cannot take wind gusts into account because of computational limits. So-called turbulent fluctuations of atmospheric wind speed are currently the focus of a lot of wind energy research. Better understanding of wind turbulence will help to reduce wind turbine damage and will improve wind energy production and thus reduce uncertainty.

The author of the article ‘Wind Speed in Wind Farms’ on page 23 follows a different approach to wind farm optimisation. Recent work on the optimisation and control of wind farms has mostly been based on wind speed and direction. Generally this has involved using a number of additional sensors. However, in the study reported here, they used existing measurements from the wind turbines. The benefits of using this method are that it is possible to ensure wind farm optimisation by estimating the wind speed and direction at all of the wind turbines in a wind farm with measurements that are already being taken using the existing control and data acquisition systems. This increases revenue due to lower costs.

The article on page 26 focuses on the use of remote sensing systems for power curve measurement. Power curves are an essential tool in many aspects of wind power development. On an operating wind farm, downtime due to component failure means lost revenue. Revenue is not only lost during downtime but also when the turbine is underperforming. Performance monitoring with portable remote sensing systems can highlight underperforming turbines and allow problems to be corrected before components fail. Again this reduces uncertainty.

The article ‘Avoiding Catastrophic Failure in Wind Turbine Blades’ (page 30) also fits in the topic of reducing uncertainty, and describes studies of composite beams under various loading conditions. The lessons learnt from these studies could help to prevent catastrophic failure due to delamination of turbine blades. Fewer damaged blades means less downtime, and thus less uncertainty and more revenue.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
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