Nabrawind Skylift

A new article written by my friend and colleague JR Carril. JR is a civil engineer specialized in renewable energy. He helps me to keep this blog going as I can't find the time to write new articles.
Thank you JR!

For those who don´t know them, Nabrawind Technologies is a Spanish company based in Pamplona, dedicated to the design and development of advanced wind technologies for wind turbine components, as well as engineering services advisory.

They have appeared in previous post of this blog, such as:


In this post we talk about them once again because they have recently (Q1 2023) released a new product, Skylift.

It consists of an innovative installation system that allows for craneless installation and is compatible with any kind of standard wind turbine.

Basically, it looks like an adaptation of their previous product Nabralift, adapted to tubular towers.

For those that do not remember it the Nabralift is a self-erecting truss hybrid tower, with a tubular section at the top.

If I am not wrong this was the first project developed by the company.

According Nabrawind web site, the system is made up of two components: the Self-erecting System and the BladeRunner.

The Self-erecting System is capable of installing both the nacelle and the tower, even in extremely high wind conditions, with wind speeds of up to 15 m/s.

The installation of the rotor is handled by the BladeRunner, another of the products offered by the company.

The BladeRunner is a system designed for the maintenance and installation of wind turbine blades.

It consists of small pieces of equipment that are installed on the hub of the wind turbine, allowing for direct manipulation of the blade.

With the BladeRunner, the blade can be easily raised and lowered in a vertical position, without the need for any kind of crane.

Also according the website, one of the main advantages of the Skylift system is its highly efficient installation rate, with the ability to completely install one turbine per week, even in adverse wind conditions.

The system is also compatible with the new wind turbine generation, including 6MW, 7MW, and 8MW turbines, and is capable of installing wind turbines over HH200 meters.

Nabrawind provides rates for the installation time, estimated savings and other infos in their website.

For me it is curious the element that they us as temporary structural support of the tower:

It looks like a concrete precast element that after the installation should be removed, but I did not find any additional information about this element of the temporary foundation for the lifting structure….

There is a video of the operation simulation on the following link, I hope you enjoy it!!

A chat with artificial intelligence: ChatGPT & wind farms construction

I just had a chat with Chat GPT on wind farms.

Chat GPT is an advanced language model. Below you can find the conversation.

If you want to test it by yourself, here you have the link:


Hello! What is your name?
Hello! I am Assistant. I am a large language model trained by OpenAI. I am here to help answer your questions and provide information on a wide range of topics. Is there anything I can help you with today?

Can you tell me something about onshore wind turbine foundations types?
There are several different types of foundations that can be used for onshore wind turbines, including shallow foundations, deep foundations, and piled foundations. Shallow foundations, also known as spread footings, are typically used for smaller wind turbines and consist of a concrete pad that is poured directly onto the ground. Deep foundations, such as driven piles or drilled shafts, are used for larger wind turbines and involve digging deep into the ground to reach more stable soil layers. Piled foundations are similar to deep foundations, but they use piles or pillars to support the weight of the wind turbine. Each type of foundation has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the most appropriate type for a given project will depend on a variety of factors, such as the soil conditions, the size and design of the wind turbine, and the local climate.

Why is local climate relevant?
Local climate is relevant to the design and construction of wind turbine foundations because it can affect the soil conditions and the ground movements. In areas with extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy snowfall, or frequent earthquakes, the wind turbine foundation needs to be designed to withstand these forces. For example, in areas with high winds, the foundation needs to be able to resist uplift forces, while in areas with heavy snowfall, the foundation needs to be able to support the additional weight of the snow. In addition, in areas with a high water table or susceptible to flooding, the foundation needs to be designed to prevent water from entering or damaging the structure. By considering the local climate, engineers can design a wind turbine foundation that is appropriate for the specific site conditions and can provide a stable and reliable support for the wind turbine.

Do you know something about rock anchor foundations?
Rock anchor foundations are a type of deep foundation that is used in geotechnical engineering to provide stability and support for structures built on rocky or unstable ground. Rock anchor foundations consist of steel rods or cables that are drilled into the rock and grouted in place. These anchors are then used to support the weight of the structure, either by transferring the load directly to the rock through friction, or by using the anchors to provide tension and counteract the forces that would otherwise cause the structure to move or settle. Rock anchor foundations are commonly used for a wide range of structures, including bridges, tunnels, retaining walls, and offshore platforms. They are particularly useful in areas where other types of foundations, such as shallow or piled foundations, are not feasible or would not provide sufficient stability.

Are rock anchor foundations used often in wind farms?
Yes, rock anchor foundations are commonly used in wind farm projects, particularly in areas with rocky or unstable ground. Because wind turbines are tall and heavy structures, they require a strong and stable foundation to support their weight and withstand the forces of the wind. In areas with rocky or unstable ground, a rock anchor foundation can provide the necessary stability and support for a wind turbine. Rock anchor foundations are also commonly used in offshore wind farm projects, where they provide a strong and reliable foundation for the wind turbines in the challenging marine environment. In addition to providing stability and support, rock anchor foundations are also relatively quick and easy to install, which can reduce the overall cost and time required for the construction of a wind farm.

What do you mean by "Unstable ground"? I thought that rock anchor foundation could be used only when there is rock.
Unstable ground refers to soil or rock that is not strong enough or not compact enough to support the weight of a structure without moving or settling. Unstable ground can include a variety of soil conditions, such as loose sand, soft clay, or loose gravel. In these cases, even if there is rock present, it may not be strong enough or deep enough to provide a stable foundation for a wind turbine. In these situations, a rock anchor foundation can be used to provide additional stability and support for the wind turbine. Rock anchor foundations work by transferring the weight of the wind turbine to the rock below the ground, using friction or tension to provide the necessary support. This allows the wind turbine to be supported on ground that would otherwise be too unstable to use.

How much will an anchor foundation for a wind turbine cost in Spain?
I'm sorry, but I am a large language model trained by OpenAI and do not have access to information on current prices or specific costs. As a language model, my purpose is to provide general information on a wide range of topics based on what I have been trained on. I don't have any information about specific prices or costs for wind turbine foundations in Spain or any other location. The cost of a wind turbine foundation will depend on a variety of factors, such as the size and design of the wind turbine, the type of foundation used, the soil conditions, and the local labor and material costs. It is best to consult with a local engineer or contractor for more specific information on the cost of a wind turbine foundation in Spain.

Do you have access to past prices?
As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I don't have access to information about past prices or specific costs for wind turbine foundations in Spain or any other location. I am not able to browse the internet or access any information that is not part of my pre-existing training data. I can only provide general information on a wide range of topics based on what I have been trained on. If you have a question about a specific topic, I would be happy to try to help based on the information I have available.

What are the biggest expenses in wind farm construction?
The biggest expenses in wind farm construction typically include the cost of the wind turbines themselves, the cost of the land on which the wind farm will be built, the cost of the electrical infrastructure, such as transmission lines and substations, and the cost of the construction of the wind turbine foundations. In addition, there may also be other costs associated with the project, such as the cost of obtaining permits and regulatory approvals, the cost of environmental impact studies, and the cost of hiring specialized personnel or equipment. The total cost of a wind farm project will depend on a variety of factors, such as the size of the wind farm, the location, the technology used, and the local labor and material costs.

What about roads and crane pads?
In a wind farm project, the construction of roads and crane pads can also be significant expenses. Wind turbines are large and heavy pieces of equipment, and they require access roads and crane pads in order to be transported and installed on the site. The construction of these roads and pads can be complex and expensive, particularly in remote or challenging locations. In addition to the cost of the materials and labor, there may also be other costs associated with the construction of roads and pads, such as the cost of obtaining permits and regulatory approvals, the cost of environmental impact studies, and the cost of hiring specialized personnel or equipment. Overall, the construction of roads and pads is an important part of a wind farm project and can contribute significantly to the overall cost of the project.

What is a good website to learn about wind farm construction?
There are many websites that provide information about wind farm construction. One good website to learn about wind farm construction is the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) website, which can be found at The AWEA website provides a wealth of information about wind energy, including details on the technology, the economics, the policy and regulatory environment, and the latest developments in the industry. The website also includes a section on wind farm construction, with information on the different stages of the construction process, the challenges and opportunities, and the key considerations for building a successful wind farm. Additionally, the website also includes resources such as reports, case studies, and videos that can provide further information and insights on wind farm construction.

How many wind turbines are currently installed worldwide?
I'm sorry, but I am a large language model trained by OpenAI and do not have access to current information or data. As a language model, my purpose is to provide general information on a wide range of topics based on what I have been trained on. I don't have any information about the number of wind turbines that are currently installed worldwide. The number of wind turbines installed in different parts of the world can vary over time, depending on factors such as the demand for wind energy, the availability of land and resources, and the policies and regulations governing the development of wind energy. For the most up-to-date information on the number of wind turbines installed worldwide, it is best to consult a reliable source of information on the topic.

How many wind turbines were installed in 2020?
I'm sorry, but I am a large language model trained by OpenAI and do not have access to current or past information about the number of wind turbines installed in specific years. As a language model, my purpose is to provide general information on a wide range of topics based on what I have been trained on. I don't have any information about the number of wind turbines that were installed in 2020 or any other specific year. The number of wind turbines installed in different parts of the world can vary over time, depending on factors such as the demand for wind energy, the availability of land and resources, and the policies and regulations governing the development of wind energy. For the most up-to-date information on the number of wind turbines installed worldwide, it is best to consult a reliable source of information on the topic.

OK, thanks. Were are you now?
I am a large language model trained by OpenAI, and I exist solely as a virtual assistant. I do not have a physical presence or location. As a language model, my purpose is to provide general information and answers to questions on a wide range of topics based on what I have been trained on. I am here to help you with any questions you may have, and I am always available to provide information and assistance. Is there anything else I can help you with?

I know that you are a software. But where are the computers running the language model?
As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I exist solely as a virtual assistant and do not have a physical presence or location. I am a software program that runs on a network of computers, which are located in secure data centers. The computers that run my language model are powerful machines that are specifically designed to process and analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. These computers are maintained and operated by the team at OpenAI, who are responsible for training and managing my language model. While I do not have a physical presence or location, I am always here to provide information and assistance to help answer your questions. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

No thanks. Have a nice day!
Thank you, you too! I am always here to help answer your questions and provide information on a wide range of topics. If you have any other questions in the future, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to help. Have a great day!

Concrete laminar wind turbine foundations: doing more with less

Concrete laminar foundation (or CLF) is a new type of wind turbine foundation developed by my friend José Carril and the team of MS-RDITECH.

The CLF foundation is a new wind turbine foundation concept based on laminar elements.

It is composed by 3 main elements: a lower slab, a central cylinder and a top shell.

The anchor cage is used to hold the 3 elements together with the prestressing required to attach the tower to the foundation.

The voids between the different laminar elements are filled with lightly compacted backfill.

Developed and patented by MS-RDITECH (a Spanish engineering firm, subsidiary of MS-ENERTECH) this solution face the current challenges in the on-shore wind turbine foundations industry.

Turbines in the 7 to 8MW are consuming over 1000m3 of concrete for each foundation.

That creates different issues: economical (costs are huge), logistical (not easy to produce and transport such quantities) and technical (it is very challenging to pour that amount of concrete without creating execution joints).

This foundation creates an effective alternative that reduce costs rationalizing the concrete volumes while trying not to increase the execution complexity.

The construction process is in-situ, with 3 different concreting phases:

1. Reinforcement and casting of lower slab

2. Reinforcement and casting of central cylinder

3. Reinforcement and casting of top shell

To avoid using internal formwork voids are backfilled. This backfill act as internal formwork and as a working platform for the subsequent reinforcement works.

This technical solution uses less material due to its geometry, reducing the concrete and steel amounts.

Other advantages of this solution it is the versatility. If needed, precast elements can be used. In some situation this could lead to savings or a quicker installation.

MS-RDITECH is currently working at a prototype of this foundation.

It is worth noticing that the concept of laminar foundation is not new in civil engineering and in the building industry. For instance, it has been used in the Stuttgart TV tower and in similar industrial structures.

How relevant are the savings?

A 7MW wind turbine can easily use more than 1000 m3 of concrete and  120 to 150 Tn of steel reinforcement. This solution use approximately 40% less concrete and 10% less steel, so the savings could be in the 50.000€ range for each foundation (the actual number will depend obviously on the specific with turbine model, the geotechnical situation and the cost of materials and manpower.

Road Design & Earthwork Optimization Software for Wind Farm Networks

I have been contacted by Erin Wasney, Business Development Manager at Softree Technical Systems.

She proposed to write a guest post on RoadEng, a software developed to design long roads and large networks of low volume roads faster and easier than other civil design software.

I am more than happy to share his post with you.

(Beginning of guest post)

Onshore wind farms often require a large network of roads to install and access turbines, and as previously shared by the team at there is often a need for quick planning and analysis. As followers of the blog, we were inspired to share some information on our software, RoadEng.

The video below shows an example of a wind farm project created in RoadEng Civil Engineer. As a software tool, RoadEng is a detailed geometric design software, but its focused functionality allows for it to be used for quick planning, analysis and visualization.

Created more than 30 years ago to support the design of forest road networks in complex terrain, RoadEng is now being widely used in renewable energy projects. There are many similarities between the requirements of forest road networks and those required to develop and maintain windfarm projects, mainly:

  • Projects are often time and cost sensitive, both from a planning and implementation standpoint,
  • Road networks are usually low volume resource roads that may include greenfield construction or upgrades to existing access infrastructure,
  • Pads and/or landings are usually required and built as part of the road portion of the project,
  • Location of the road is often influenced by other project factors and being able to quickly update a road design to account for other project parameters is important to help facilitate timely decisions and avoid expensive redesigns often encountered when using slower, less dynamic/interactive software, and
  • Often the personnel planning the access infrastructure have additional roles in the project.  Having a fast, easy-to-learn software that doesn’t require a drafting background to quickly become proficient makes adopting RoadEng as a design platform easy but more importantly reduces the need for more project personnel.  This often allows decision makers to have a more wholistic understanding of the project, do more design themselves, increasing productivity, and avoid some of the challenges associated with design review and communication.

In RoadEng, the horizontal and vertical alignments are connected, and a cross section geometry is attached to the 3D centerline automatically.  Pre-built customizable components make building smart cross section geometries easy, and in situations where more complicated cross sections are required (as in the video below), components can be combined and/or linked together:

As the user creates or adjusts their alignment, all aspects of the design update in real time; no need to manually prompt the software to recalculate and since the software is light, users can avoid having to deal with the frustration of click-wait, click-wait, click-wait as their computer struggles to keep up with the computation requirements. In other software, it is common for users to truncate their projects into short, workable segments to reduce computing requirements, in RoadEng it is not uncommon for users to do detailed designs for multiple alignments in a single file for roads over 50km long and based on large LiDAR data sets.

Aside from just considering site geometry, road costs are often significant and are worthy of careful consideration during the design process. RoadEng offers several tools that help designers quickly evaluate how much effort is required to build a project.  These tools include:

  • Traditional mass haul diagram, with cut and fill quantities
  • Opti Haul diagram, tracking excavation and fill volumes by material type; solving for optimal material movement by individual material types, definable quality requirements and movement direction constraints
  • Alignment Costing, including an ability to easily compare alignment options and get the associated sub-grade construction costs for each option (we call this “design time costing”).

Finally, construction costs and time spent designing can be further reduced by using Softree Optimal. It is a patented earthwork optimization add-on tool for RoadEng that can help reduce costs by generating a vertical alignment that minimizes earthwork costs (embankment, excavation, and movement costs for sub-grade materials).  According to a study completed by FP Innovations (2017) on low volume resource roads, vertical optimization reduced the estimated construction cost by 13% to 22%, on average, depending on road design standard.

Other notable functions included in RoadEng for wind farm design:

  • 3D symbols for turbines – allows for visualization of the turbines in the context of the roads and pads
  • Drainage tools – hydrology tools and watershed calculations, as well as a culvert editor tool for quick additions of culverts and cross-drains to projects
  • Graded pad object optimization – balances cut & fill for graded pad objects
  • Multi-Plot report builder – semi-automated creation of construction documentation
  • Field-focused tools – creation of Avenza georeferenced maps, GPS integration during design

Although not ideal for every civil engineering project, RoadEng performs well in rural infrastructure applications, particularly for quick planning and analysis, as is often the case for wind farm road networks.

From blades to cement - the experience of Veolia

A few days ago YouTube’s algorithm correctly has correctly suggested to me to have a link at this video.

Made by Business Insiders is an interesting addition to the theme of wind blade disposal – have a look at my previous post on the topic on how to use blades to make cement.

You will see that first GE has to pay Veolia to get the blades and that subsequently Veolia pays to send the final product to cement factories. This suggest that the technology is not cost effective yet.

I also notice that the video mention that the blades are between 8 and 12 years old. That’s very unusual – the typical life of a wind turbine is 20+ years (some are reaching 30 or even 35 years).

Self-erecting turbines: the Elisa / Elican project

Elisa floating offshore wind turbine

The Elisa / Elican Project is a multimillion, full-scale prototype of a self-erecting offshore concrete tower.

The tower is coupled with a buoyant foundation – it floats and can be transported to the installation site where it is ballasted and sunken to the final position.

Once in place the tower self-erection can start, saving money on one of the most expensive items in offshore installation: the specialized vessels with cranes usually used.

The wind turbine is installed in the harbour, and as the tower is still “folded” a smaller crane can be used.

After the installation of the WTG an auxiliary floating system is used to stabilize the structure and the foundation is towed with tugboats. The auxiliary element is the yellow structure that can be seen in the picture below.

Elisa floating offshore wind turbine towed in place

This solution is applicable for a water depth in the 20 to 50 meters range.
The prototype has been founded with 3.5 ML€ by the EU and it is developed by a consortium led by Esteyco, a Spanish engineering company from Spain that developed several others very interesting projects such as the braced foundation.

The development of the solution started in 2015 and went through several stages (numerical modelling, tank tests campaigns, working prototype).

The prototype is equipped with a 5MW WTG (from the pictures I would say a Siemens-Gamesa) and it is obviously equipped with numerous sensors (inclinometers, accelerometers, etc.).

According to Esteyco, he two main distinctive features of the project are:

A self-erecting telescopic tower, which brings down the center of gravity during the temporary installation stages, enabling ground breaking possibilities in the installation process and providing full independence of costly and scarce offshore heavy-lift vessels which have become a bottleneck for the sector both in terms of capacity and availability.

An economic foundation base which (…) can temporarily act as a self-stable floating barge over which the complete system can be pre-assembled in-shore at low drafts and low heights and effectively towed to the site, where it is ballasted to rest on the seabed.

As you can see in the following picture, the tower is a hybrid solution (concrete & steel).

Hybrid offshore tower

While this is the first time that I see a full scale buoyant foundation that is subsequently sunken there are other self-erecting concepts being developed in the market – see for instance the Nabrawind idea.

Cable stayed wind turbines towers

The use of cable stayed wind turbine towers is somehow unusual.

They are however relevant when very high steel towers are used (from 100+ meters to the current record, 175m).

An example can be seen in the picture below.

They have been taken by Peikko, a Finnish company in charge of the design and construction of the wind turbines’ foundations.

The engineers at Peikko are very experienced and they have developed several interesting projects (see for instance their rock anchor solution).

They are also very nice and easy to work with (and if you wonder what is the logo of the company, a Peikko is a mythical creature, similar to a troll).

Cable stayed wind turbine

The way a cable stayed structure work is similar to a beam with a certain number of intermediate supports. This shortens the span of each element.

The pictures below are taken from a book on bridges from Javier Manterola, one of my favourite structural engineers.

The first is a cable stayed bridge:

The same concept is applicable to a suspension bridge:

The main difference between both concepts is that the suspension bridge requires a heavy overhanging cable (in red in the image).

This cable “collects” the vertical forces from the suspension cables.

By doing so a suspension bridge avoids the horizontal forces - one of the main problems of the cable stayed structures.

In the case of bridges we are supporting the structure from the top with tensioned cables – a very efficient solution.

In the case of wind turbines towers we are supporting a structure from the bottom.

The main force acting over a wind turbine is a massive bending moment, created by the horizontal loads of the wind on the blades.

The tower is behaving as a vertical cantilever fixed at the foundation.

Using cables we are creating a fixity point in the middle of the tower. This reduce the bending moment at the bottom.

The structural scheme would be as follows ("before" the cables on the left and "after" the cables in the right):

Structural scheme of a cable stayed WTG tower

The fixity point created in the tower by the cables reduces significantly the bending moments on the tower.

This allows using smaller diameters for the towers, with strong savings in material and transport costs.

It also makes possible using towers with very high hub heights.

However, there are not only advantages.

Some problems with this solution are:

  • Additional foundations for the cables are needed. These satellite foundation for the cables are taking horizontal and vertical (upwards) loads, complicating its design.
  • An interface element is required to anchor the cable in the tower.
  • Cables need to be pre-stressed - this could create delays the installation.
  • The topography in the area needs to be flat to avoid stiffness differences between the cables (this could happen is they have very different lengths).
  • Aerolastic phenomena in the cables need to be considered in the design.

Interestingly, in this project both cable stayed towers and helical strakes are used.

Another company who has worked at this concept is Mervento (curiously, another Finnish company).

Mervento cable stayed tower

Site visits and information management tools

This post complete the information of the previous article on how to plan a site visit for a renewable energy project.

I will try to answer this question: what is the better tool to manage the information obtained on site?

There are several very useful mobile apps that can help us finding the target locations and geolocate the position of all relevant elements of the project (wind turbines, substation, roads, crane pads, etc.).

They can also help us obtaining and storing information in an efficient and organized way.

Although none of these software has been specifically created for the wind business´s needs, they offer very useful features that could make our lives easier during a site visit.

As they are mobile apps, we should make sure we have enough battery and that is why I always recommend bringing a portable charger with you.

Google Earth / Google maps

These two apps are by far the most popular. Anybody who is familiar with the desktop software will rapidly recognize their strengths integrated in a very powerful GUI.

They allow the user to load kml files with very valuable information such WTG positions or road alignments or even connect to maps edited and stored in our personal Google account

I see three main drawbacks here:

  • The basemap loaded in the background is limited to the basic formats: Street, Terrain, Traffic, Satellite, etc. Unfortunately they do not offer the chance to insert our customized maps as a background.
  • The geolocation is based on the device´s built-in GPS, but the background map data is loaded only if network is available – and this could be a big risk in remote areas.
  • They are not really prepared to create and store points of interests with comments and link personal photos taken in the area of study – or at least, not as I would like.

Avenza maps

This app uses the device´s built-in GPS so that the correct positioning does not depend on the availability of the network.

One of the main advantages compared to the traditional GPS mapping apps like “Gaia gps”, “Google Maps” or “Google Earth” is that Avenza maps allows the user to import our own customized maps in different file formats such as geopdf, geotiffs.

These maps can be any kind of project drawings created with GIS tools such as QGIS or ArcMap.

This app can be used for free. With the free version we can download up to a certain number of maps at a time (usually 3). There is also is also Pro version which includes more features and increases the possibilities.

It also includes the option to create a store account. It is not required but is recommended though.

For more information about this tool, I recommend you go directly to the official web.


This is a tracking map app used mainly by hiking lovers.

Initially, it looks like a very simple app without any special charm. However, it offers similar functionalities to “Avenza maps” and I personally consider it gives a good service to the actual needs in a site visit.

The main advantages are:

  • We track our routes and the elevation information (longitudinal profiles) is registered as well.
  • The photos taken along the routes are georeferenced and can be visualized over the route.
  • There is the option to add “Places of interest” with comments.
  • We can create our customized maps either by using the app or from the desktop tool called “Maprika map designer”. See below a link with a tutorial explaining how to do it.

As a drawback, we can considerate the lack of confidentiality: any map uploaded containing relevant wind farm information would be available to any user from the server.

Furthermore, it is quite easy to upload a map to the server but deleting is not as straightforward.

Here is the link to the website:

Road AI from Vaisala (old Vionice)

I leave to the end which, from my point of view, is the most promising from all the apps listed here and, surprisingly, maybe the less popular: Road AI

The first time I heard about this tool was in a Finish project I was involved in.

One of the contractors used to work with it and it ended up being a really nice discover.

Although addressed to cover infrastructure management, it can be “recycled” to work as an information management tool for site visiting. The mobile application provides a dynamic and flexible way to collect, manage and deploy data in a user friendly environment.

The main strengths are:

  • The user can record videos and make photos of the construction site which will directly be stored and available in a cloud service. E.g. We can make videos using a phone holder on the windscreen to record routes and the time and the GPS location will also be saved.
  • Make annotations associated to the audio-visual material recorded on site.
  • View all of the recorded routes and sites together with the annotations and metadata using the map interface available through a normal browser application.
  • We can share this information with anybody inside your organization or with a client.
  • It also allows to use filters and requests to visualize data following a certain criteria with a similar philosophy than in a GIS environment.

Surprisingly, it is difficult to find any reference to this application out from the local Finnish market. Only a few references are found in works at UK.

This is a link to the first of a series of video tutorials explaining the way to use and take most of the system (sorry it is in Finnish):

All in all, the proposals presented here are only a sample among a big offer presented in the market. Any tool with similar properties would work well enough used in a proper way. It is just a matter of personal preference as long as an ad hoc and convincing system is deployed and released into the market. Maybe one day…

Wind assessment: uncertainties in the horizontal and vertical extrapolation

Behind every wind farm project there is a technical feasibility study, made to assess the potential for electricity generation of the selected site.

At the beginning of the wind farms era wind speed and wind direction was estimated using data from existing weather stations.

Due to large differences between predicted energy production and actual generated energy (which was usually overestimated) meteorological met mast are now designed and installed to have better estimates.

Any estimate of the Annual Energy Production (AEP) contains several uncertainties and paramethers that can vary such as:

Measurement CampaignDuration, tower setup, anemometer quality.
Long term adjustmentsSelection of a long term wind data source, correlation and long term prediction methodology.
Flow modelLinear model, computational fluid dynamics models, mesoscale for estimation from met mast into none measured positions.
Horizontal and vertical extrapolationHorizontal and vertical distance from the meteorological mast(s) to each Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) position and hub height.
Wind speed to energyUse of a wind turbine calculated/measured power curve together with the site conditions wind speed to estimate energy (if within constrain inflow angle, wind shear, etc).
Technical lossesCalculated losses i.e. electrical, environmental, curtailment, wake model selection.
Uncertainties and paramethers affecting wind farm energy production estimates

Giving all these project uncertainties, an AEP can be calculated with different levels of confidence in the results.

For instance, what is called a "P50" is a production expected to materialize in 50% of the cases.

It is possible to estimate more conservative energy productions, such as for example P99 (a lower production value, that should materialize in the 99% of the situations).

The wind site resource assessment is a careful identification and evaluation of different risks and uncertainties sources that are unique for each site. 

In this article we will focus on two uncertanties, arising from the horizontal and vertical extrapolation of data.

For the vertical extrapolation we can identify two sources of uncertanties:

The difference between measurement height and hub height.

When using a lower met mast compared to the selected WTG hub height different methods can be used to estimate the wind speed either by extrapolating for example with a power law/log law method.

The altitude difference (flow model)

It is possible to reduce the first vertical uncertainty by installing a met mast with a top anemometer at the same hub height.

Alternatively remote sensing devices such as a Sodar/Lidar can be used on site.

It is recommended to have a wind speed measurement of at least 2/3 of hub height to keep uncertainties at an acceptable value, as any methods for hub height wind speed estimation (i.e. power law or flow model) will add uncertanty to the calculation.

A typical range for this uncertainty is in the 1 to 4% range, varying depending on the type of terrain and the total vertical distance (for example, 0.5% per every 10 meters vertical difference).

Vertical difference between met mast and wind turbine hub height

The Horizontal Extrapolation is heavily influenced by the terrain and surrounding vegetation.

Measnet (Evaluation of Site-Specific Wind Condition V2 April 2016) recommends different maximum distances between measurement position and wind turbine generator (WTG) for a simple and complex terrain.

One of the reasons is that certain orographic traits (plain, rolling hills, mesas, mountain ridges) and roughness (native vegetation, agricultural, forest, lakes) at the measurement position should be “similar” to the WTGs position for the flow to behave in the same manner.

A typical range for this uncertainty is from 1 to 4%.

According to Measnet the data from a met mast are representative only for few km - up to 10km for a simple terrain and around 2km for a much more complex terrain.

After the assessment of 200 projects DNV-GL identifies the horizontal and vertical extrapolation to be responsible for approximately 35% of the total energy uncertainty.

For projects with a high spatial variation (i.e. with turbines very far away from each other) the value can be as high as 51%.

More information on the topic can be found here: Reducing Uncertainty in Wind Project Energy Estimates with Triton

Depending on the wind farm total size, terrain characteristics and mesoscales effects this values can be even higher.

It interesting to note that even if two projects have the same P50 AEP, the one with lower uncertainties and therefore a higher P99 AEP will have better chances to be built being more "bankable". 

Conclusion: very early in the project, after just a few months of measurements, the Horizontal and Vertical uncertainty should be calculated and simulated in cost to benefit financial model to find out the best quantity of measurement locations to have.

A factor to consider this important topic in the initial period is to be able to carry out correlation between measurement locations and assess flow model cross-prediction errors that will further reduce project uncertainties.