Met towers are a must for a proper site assessment. But it takes a while to get them ordered, shipped, and erected, and their cost gets close to $100,000. Wouldn’t it be great to get the wind data without the tower?
Engineers at WindPole Ventures agree, and so have devised a way to acquire real-time, hub-height-standardized wind speed data from a nationwide portfolio of towers 60m and more. The company addresses the challenge of wind integration and intermittency by improving the quality of data available to ISOs, wind developers and operators, resource analysts, power traders, and government.
The company says it has access to 6,000 towers in 39 states. Wind for 85% of the current and planned wind generation capacity passes through its 80 to 100-m towers. A few plusses include:
- Long booms and standard instrumentation lead to bankable data.
- Hub height, real-time data comes within 90 days of order.
- It’s a lower cost alternative to erecting towers and maintaining the equipment.
- Pre-existing towers require no permits. Disclose your plans on your schedule.
Conventional data sources are intended for aviation and consumer weather markets. They do not meet the need for wind-speed data at the hub height and above the 80-m boundary layer. WindPole says it has secured the only national tower set capable of measuring above the boundary layer.
Typically, surface data from 10-m towers at an airport in a valley can help “guesstimate” to the hub-height wind speeds needed by utility scale turbines. Satellite data can also project some land based wind-farm projects. Both are inaccurate and inadequate to meet investor due diligence and support wind power integration into the grid. All parties are focused on satisfying investors’ need for de-risked projects recognizing capital as the top barrier to wind power deployment. WindPole’s plan instruments 580 existing tall towers that extend above the boundary layer of 80m to collect real-time wind speed and direction data.
A few comments on the table
1. These are mostly radio towers, such as Sabre 3600, and not cellular radio towers.
2. Hub height is assumed to be 80m, increasing to 100m.
3. Wide dispersion of forecasting up to hub height yields a ±10% error. Investors pick lower power and revenue estimates that require greater developer equity.
4. Figures exclude maintenance. The WindPole option includes maintenance. All configurations assume redundant anemometers at three heights (40, 60, and 80m), direction and temperature sensors at two heights, and one barometric-pressure sensor.
5. $7,000 (sensors) + $15,000 (tower) plus installation, shipping, land lease, and permit.
6. $7,000 (sensors) + $75,000 to $95,000 (tower) plus installation, shipping, land lease, and permit.
7. WindPole requires a two-year contract commitment.
8. WindPole is responsible for sensor maintenance and replacement under its “data as a service” model.
9. 6,000 towers are more than 80-m high and 1,500 are more than 100-m high. View WindPole sites at: windpoleventures.com/downloads/WindPole_Towers.kmz
10. Many jurisdictions require building permits and inspections.
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