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Researchers Expect To Make Wind Farming A Reality

Researchers Expect To Make Wind Farming An Economic Reality

Researchers in Wellington are making the most of New Zealand’s wind in a study, which looks at improving the economic viability of windfarming.

PB Power expects that their research will eventually increase the number of wind farms developed in New Zealand. Research leader Paul van Lieshout said the aim is to encourage the efficient use of New Zealand’s renewable energy resources.

Part of the research, which is an investment of the Public Good Science Fund, is looking at long-term and short-term wind forecasting.

“New Zealand’s high wind speeds create unique challenges for wind farm developers and wind turbine manufacturers. One area is high wind speed shutdowns, where the wind turbine stops, then waits until the average wind speed falls below a set threshold, before restarting,” said Mr van Lieshout.

“These shutdowns have not been previously taken into account and have considerable effects when assessing the long-term commercial viability of a wind power project, which requires accurately predicting the amount of electricity that will be produced.” Potential wind turbine sites in New Zealand are windier than the majority of overseas sites. European wind farms may experience high wind speed shutdowns only once a year while we expect several shutdowns a month.

“However we have achieved notable goals towards improving wind farm viability in New Zealand by improving the forecasting of wind and long term wind energy predictions, so that investors can have a better idea of the energy prediction over the project’s life,” said Mr van Lieshout.

“We have done this by developing a statistical model that performs risk analysis on long-term energy calculations. This model calculates upper and lower annual production curves for the wind farm lifetime (say 20 years) based on different confidence levels. This allows investors to accurately include risks associated with the wind resource in their financial analysis, without guessing uncertainties. The project has also focused on raising the profile of wind farming both in New Zealand and internationally.

“PB Power was selected by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a wind power investigation project in China, from a shortlist of top five wind power consultants around the globe”

Further information: Paul van Lieshout, PB Power, DDI 04 499 1000 mobile 021 519 085, Madeleine Setchell, Foundation for Research,Science and Technology, Ph 04 498 7806,Mobile 025 40 60 40

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