Vaisala, global provider of environmental measurement and renewable energy consulting services, has published a report that analyzes wind performance across Turkey for the past two years.
The results reveal that in the Aegean and Marmara region, which accounts for nearly 75% of the country’s installed wind capacity, 2014 was a low year with wind speeds 5 to 10% below normal while 2015 was close to average (aside from elevated wind speeds in the first quarter).
Similar to last year, Q1 2016 experienced above average wind speeds by as much as 20% across most of the country, but largely outside of this major wind operations area. These dramatic shifts in wind speeds highlight the clear requirement to understand wind production variability prior to major investment.
Turkey is one of the largest and fastest growing onshore wind markets in Europe. Its total installed wind energy capacity reached 4.7 GW in 2015, up from 3.7 GW in 2014, and the government’s “Vision 2023” plan calls for capacity to exceed 20 GW by 2025.
The auction expected in Q2 of this year for 3 GW of wind generation capacity was 14-times oversubscribed during the preliminary license application period. EMRA (the Energy Market Regulatory Authority) has also announced another 2 GW bidding process for October 2016, which will continue to mobilize near-term growth.
While auction tenders create opportunity, they also reduce project margins for developers. Ensuring developers appropriately structure and submit the best projects for auction, requires an accurate and reliable production estimate during the due diligence process. Without it, developers and government auctions may back the wrong projects, leaving operators without a solid benchmark of expected production variability and, in the case of severe underperformance, the potential risk of debt default.
This, combined with increased regional project scrutiny and stress testing at P75 and P90 levels, have made the accuracy and uncertainties of these values critical to project success.
“Our report demonstrates that the regions with Turkey’s highest annual average wind speeds, do not necessarily guarantee the highest wind power generation quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year,” said Nihat Hunerli, EMEA Regional Manager at Vaisala. “There remains significant variability throughout the year and climate conditions can cause highs or lulls for sustained periods of time. For prospective developers and investors this equates to a risk of underperformance and the resulting drop in forecasted revenue.”
It is now widely acknowledged that traditional engineering approaches have failed to accurately predict wind project performance, following a broad trend of 10% overestimation for projects brought online in the U.S. and Europe 10-15 years ago. Subsequently, developers, owners, and operators demanded more rigorous validation studies and more sophisticated energy assessment techniques to accurately capture the complexity of wind behavior and long-term weather variability.
Driven by industry demands, Vaisala was an early pioneer in this area, introducing techniques supported by weather science, and continues to set the benchmark for accuracy, recently exhibiting near zero mean bias error compared to actuals in the world’s second largest validation study.
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