Climate change is on everyone’s mind, but climate variability can make or break a wind energy project. Officials for 3TIER announce a new Time Series Tool specifically designed to reveal the risks associated with climate variability on expected wind farm performance.
Predicting 30-years of energy production for a utility-scale wind farm is challenging, particularly with limited observed data and today’s climate uncertainty.
During a recent due diligence energy assessment for a utility-scale energy project in India, 3TIER found that the opinions of the leading global re-analysis datasets differed significantly for the last year. Was it representative of one of the windiest or least windy years of the last 30-years?
The implications for the project were critical; it amounted to the difference between proceeding to build the project and shelving it. Now imagine that same scenario with no foreknowledge of the degree to which the various reanalysis datasets disagreed. Owners and financiers would be unaware of the uncertainty of the climate analysis and its risks. The initial assessment had selected the European reanalysis data because of its better correlations with on-site data. However a good fit with the current year does not necessarily suggest a good fit over the next thirty. 3TIER reviewed all four of the re-analysis datasets, and weighted the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis more heavily than the others, because it better represented more recent climate variability as observed at several operating wind farms in the region.
“Understanding the risk that climate variability represents to a project is critical to its long-term success,” says Dr. Pascal Storck, COO of 3TIER. “Being able to quickly visualize all four re-analysis datasets side-by-side helps you mitigate that risk by choosing the data for your project that best matches your site based on correlation to on-site observations as well as the agreement (or lack thereof) between each reanalysis dataset’s patterns of long-term variability.”
3TIER routinely performs due diligence energy assessments for utility-scale wind energy projects around the globe. When performing the long-term climate correction analysis, rather than utilizing a single long-term reference, an ensemble of sources is utilized to provide a more accurate correction and a comprehensive understanding of the climate uncertainty. The new tool will provide the unprecedented ability to easily understand the uncertainty and risks associated with multiple long-term corrections as opposed to just one.
Tractabel Engineering has been using a beta version of 3TIER’s Time Series Tool to save time. According to a spokesman from the company, “Choosing a long-term reference data for projects can be complex and time consuming. By providing full access to multiple references we can select the one with the best correlation and appropriate long-term climate signal. Also, the time series are delivered within 24 hours, which allows us to respond on very short notice to the requests of our clients.”
When released, the 3TIER Wind Time Series Tool will provide access to 30-year hourly reference time series from the NNRP, ERA-I, MERRA and CFSR datasets. The annual and monthly averages are displayed side-by-side, so you can quickly assess how well they correlate with each other and with your location. Within twenty-four hours the full time series from one or all of the datasets can be downloaded for any location around the world. Access is provided with a flat rate annual subscription.