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‘LiDAR tech lowers the cost of wind energy’

US: More and more developers are using SODAR (Sonic Detection and Ranging) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technologies to support wind resource assessments. These remote sensing instruments are easy to use and move from site to site. In addition, these instruments also help in reducing the cost of wind energy, observed Evan Osler, LiDAR sales lead at NRG Systems. Osler was in conversation with Wind Currents.

Osler stated that remote sensing is helping them in characterising the potential of the wind farms more accurately. He added, “As the industry has become more comfortable with the technology, we are seeing broader applications, especially with LiDAR which has been used successfully for wind forecasting and ongoing measurement of operational wind farms.”

Despite such wide use of this technology Osler also admitted that many have failed to realise the full value of their remote sensing equipment due to a lack of clarity about best practices. However, many independent reports have addressed accuracy and reliability concerns by validating the performance of remote sensors.

Where installing conventional met towers took weeks or months, LiDAR helped a large number of companies by initiating their wind measurement campaigns quickly. It also helped companies secure more favourable lending terms or power purchase agreements. With LiDAR in particular, customers have been able to collect “bankable data” by reducing vertical and horizontal uncertainty. Because LiDAR can measure at heights up to 200 meters and can be moved around a site, developers don’t have to guess what the wind resource at hub heights or exact turbine locations might be.

Osler further stressed, “Use of remote sensing, in conjunction with towers, helps lower the cost of wind to the rate payer by delivering more power, more reliably”.  

Source: Wind Currents