Know the Wind

WindProspector

WindProspector Boosts Effectiveness of Wind Farm Development and Wind Energy Generation

In real estate, it is said that the three most important factors are location, location, location.

The same adage also can apply to harvesting wind energy.

When investors and developers consider locations for wind farms, they want to identify a place that offers optimum wind conditions for energy generation and return on investment.

Until recently, achieving accurate wind resource assessments proved difficult. Technology struggled to yield closely reliable data, resulting in wind farms underperforming by an average of seven to nine percent against forecasts. 

Industry responded by calculating conservatively. Compounding matters, dramatic variations can occur in atmospheric flow due to even small terrain and land-use features over short distances.

Thanks to a capability offered by Lockheed Martin, the forecast for wind resource assessment – and by extension, wind energy development – is looking up.

WindProspector®, a solution that integrates data from the WindTracer® Doppler lidar (light detection and ranging) system – a device employed at airports around the world to measure aircraft wakes on takeoff and landing and to gather information on wind hazards and adverse weather conditions in the area – provides wind resource assessment for wind farm developers, including terrain-following 3-D wind maps, vertical shear information, time series measurements and measured power predictions.

The data from WindProspector helps wind farm developers make more effective choices for wind turbine placement and selection, and better gauge future farm performance while reducing assessment uncertainties, instead of relying on educated guesswork.  This in turn enables greater investment funding and increased ROI. 

“WindProspector is an extremely advanced and capable resource that performs a vital role in helping us more fully realize the potential and promise of wind energy,” said Dr. Michael Margulis, director of WindTracer programs at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “WindProspector generates critical data from WindTracer to help us more accurately understand the wind field and make more effective decisions for wind farm development, which in turn, helps us expand wind energy generation, and in a more efficient manner.”

WindProspector proves especially pivotal for offshore wind energy development.  Offshore winds tend to be stronger than onshore and blow more frequently, allowing greater power generation from fewer, larger turbines.

Constructing tall meteorological towers rising above the ocean can pose significant costs and technical challenges. WindTracer can be placed onshore or offshore and, through its advanced scanning range and accuracy, characterize the offshore wind field. 

Offshore wind turbines alleviate the demand on already crowded onshore sites and can be located near coastal cities, reducing both transmission infrastructure costs and power failures.

Representing the first application of WindProspector in support of offshore wind farm development, engineers from Fishermen’s Energy of New Jersey, LLC, along with specialists from Lockheed Martin, installed a WindTracer device atop a seaside apartment building in Margate, New Jersey, in November 2011. 

The installation was considered a significant step toward building what could be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Fishermen’s Energy is pursuing the development of a 25-megawatt wind farm 2.8 miles off the Atlantic City, New Jersey, coast.

“The WindTracer system could prove to be the most cost-effective monitoring technology for offshore wind resource assessments,” said Dr. Richard Dunk, director of Coastal/Offshore Alternative Energy Applications at Rutgers University. “The system will also provide the necessary wind and turbulence parameters that will enhance the accuracy and reliability of offshore weather forecasts, which are needed to support wind turbine array construction and subsequent operational procedures.”

 

January 31, 2014

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highlights
  • When investors and developers consider locations for wind farms, they want to identify a place that offers optimum wind conditions for energy generation and return on investment.
  • WindProspector®, a solution that integrates data from the WindTracer® Doppler lidar (light detection and ranging) system,  provides wind resource assessment for wind farm developers.
  • WindProspector generates critical data from WindTracer to help us more accurately understand the wind field and make more effective decisions for wind farm development, which in turn, helps us expand wind energy generation, and in a more efficient manner.

Lockheed Martin’s biomass facility in Owego, N.Y.

WindProspector proves especially pivotal for offshore wind energy development.  Offshore winds tend to be stronger than onshore and blow more frequently, allowing greater power generation from fewer, larger turbines.


Speaking of the Future: Energy


tps-77-radar

TPS-77 long-range radar can currently detect and track aircraft within sight distance of a wind farm, correctly distinguishing the turbine blades from the target while producing a low false alarm rate.

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