Alison Lucas / Instructor/ WindFarmer Instructor / GL Garrad Hassan / www.windfarmer.com
WindFarmer, a software package developed by GL Garrad Hassan, has been a useful and trusted platform for wind-farm design and analysis since its inception in 1998. The recent version 5.1 delivers its latest upgrades.
A key aspect of modern software for designing wind farms, and notably of WindFarmer 5.1, is the flexibility it gives users. For instance, the software includes time-saving features for quick, high-level analyses, and feasibility studies at the early stages of a project as well as powerful, validated models with advanced user-options to make precise calculation for detailed energy yields, and environmental-impact estimates for any size onshore or offshore site.
Accelerated project set-up
WindFarmer 5.1 allows for the quick import of raw data from met tower data loggers, remote sensing devices, reference stations, and reanalysis sources. Improved data-cleaning windows give users options to configure time-series overlays and correlation graphs for identifying trends, irregularities, and corrupted data.
The software also directly downloads map data into the user workspace from online sources. Once in the workspace, these maps may be incorporated into calculations. For example, they may be a source of elevation data for wind-flow analyses or of background imagery for defining the site boundaries. From a wide range of available projections and map formats, users can choose the best projections for each wind-farm site, eliminating the possibility of distortions in wind-flow modeling.
Integrated wind flow modeling
A wind map is often the first source of wind resource data for a project, before an on-site measurement campaign commences. Wind maps can be loaded into the software to initiate calculations for high-level analyses. WindFarmer 5.1 also integrates wind-flow models directly into the software, eliminating the need to load and unload files between programs.
An option for a first level wind-flow model is called a “simple flow model”. For early stage feasibility studies, quick and cheap flow calculations can be performed using this model without the need of additional software licensing.
For more rigorous analyses, WAsP calculations can also be initiated from the WindFarmer interface. When the results of an external wind-flow model, such as a CFD package are required, those wind resource files can be loaded into the software.
The new Wind Studio is a user-friendly interface for setting up these wind-flow calculations, managing advanced settings, such as the choice of wind shear model, and viewing associated files. It is also here that the Association Method, a technique used to preserve the accuracy of a site’s frequency distribution by associating a measured frequency distribution to turbine locations, is applied. The Association Method is especially beneficial to assessments in complex wind-flow regimes.
Even sophisticated wind-flow models need calibration from measured data.When actual turbine production data is available at a project site, the resulting pattern of production provides insight into the true wind flow across the site. This is useful for projects in highly developed regions, or for expansions of existing wind farms where turbine production data are available.
For a typical annual energy production assessment, WindFarmer conducts a simulation on the order of 10,000 flow cases to model wake effects. The Flow and Performance Matrix feature provides 22 reporting options for exporting wind resource, energy, and turbulence details for each turbine. These exports provide enormous flexibility for users to perform additional advanced analyses including monthly-hourly profiles (12 x 24), time series of power production, turbulence conditions, and curtailment impacts.
Advanced users will appreciate the ability to easily switch from project to project within WindFarmer’s workspace when making changes. This is particularly useful for complex projects that must consider many neighboring wind farms.
The updates to WindFarmer in version 5.1 provide wind-farm designers with the proper tools to tackle projects large or small, detailed or high-level, at any stage of the wind farm development. WPE
Filed Under: News