Vaisala paves way for wind development in Southeastern USA

Vaisala paves way for wind energy development in Southeastern USA

Jan 11, 2016
Renewables & smart grid
Wind energy

Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, starts partnering with Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) members to evaluate the growth of wind energy within the utilities' core operating areas. SEWC is made of Southern Company (with subsidiaries Southern Company Services and Alabama Power) and Santee Cooper. 

Together the group will collaborate on an in-depth wind feasibility study which will further expand the groundwork for understanding the potential for utility-scale wind development in the Southeast region of USA that has thus far remained almost entirely untapped.

A longstanding reputation for low wind resources in comparison to the rest of the country has led many developers to overlook the Southeast as a potential site for commercial wind energy projects. However, as turbine and resource mapping technologies improve, interest in the region is starting to increase.

As reported by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), SEWC, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), taller towers, longer blades, and improved electronics have significantly increased turbine output and efficiency and expanded the areas where wind energy projects are not only feasible but also profitable. Some projections for the next 5-10 years indicate rapid growth in the Southeast, building on the success of an already well-established wind industry supply chain in the region.

In order to further evaluate this growth and mobilise the development of utility-scale wind projects in the Southeast, the industry requires access to high-quality wind resource data as a basis for crucial project siting decisions and to complete financial modelling.  

"The Southeast is poised for considerable wind energy growth. However, before utilities and developers can start to make the most of the region's wind potential, the industry needs to provide these would-be investors with access to trusted, reliable data," says Pascal Storck, Global Manager of Energy Services at Vaisala.

Vaisala's wind feasibility study, supported by Southern Company, Santee Cooper, and the SEWC, will provide this access by creating a wind resource database of the Southeast, which will be available to coalition members, as well as a wind resource map at high altitudes which will be publicly available.

To complete the work, Vaisala will install a fleet of its Triton Wind Profilers in key locations in the Southeast to collect quality-controlled data at the hub-heights of modern turbines. The Triton mobile remote sensing unit is well suited for this project, since it can be rapidly deployed without the permits required by tall towers and captures wind information at heights up to 200 meters using state-of-the-art SoDAR technology.

Following a 12-month measurement campaign, Vaisala 3TIER Services, the company's consulting arm, will complete a high-resolution spatial analysis of the project area both validated and corrected by the Triton field data as well as other measurement data provided by coalition members.

"By combining the capabilities and strengths of all involved, this feasibility study could ultimately lay the foundation for wind energy growth that offers economic benefits to industry, utilities, and residents alike," says Marc Tye, Santee Cooper's Executive Vice President of Competitive Markets and Generation. 

Image: Vaisala

Source: Vaisala

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