By Christiane Montavon,|
The power and energy output of a wind turbine is a cubic function of the wind speed. Doubling the wind speed can mean a substantial increase in the energy output, thereby improving the economic viability of an installation. It is vital to assess the wind power potential of a site with as much accuracy as possible, taking into account seasonal as well as year to year variations in the local wind climate.
The standard way to assess the potential of a site is to measure the on-site wind conditions carefully and consistently for at least a year. Since wind conditions can vary significantly from year to year, measurements are usually correlated with measurements taken at a nearby site, for which a longer-term record is available. The measurements at the site of interest are then 'corrected' for the long-term trend.
At the time of assessing the wind energy potential of the site of Mt-Crosin East, Jakob Vollenweider, of the Swiss utility company JUVENT, considered an alternative option. In addition to a short-term measurement campaign, he commissioned a CFD analysis of the wind conditions on the site, which, together with a long-term data set at the meteorological station of Chasseral a few kilometers away, allowed construction of wind potential maps in the area of Mt-Crosin.