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ECN – Tracking Wind Conditions for More Wind Energy

EARTO Innovation Awards 2017 – Impact Expected Category

  Wind energy is developing at a fast pace: the size of wind turbines and wind farms is increasing rapidly. Operating in winds at increasingly higher level, wind turbines reach altitudes between 100 and 300m height, in atmospheric conditions that are relatively unknown. Wind measurements at these heights is expensive and unpractical, but knowledge of the wind conditions are crucially important for the power production of the turbines and for the mechanical loads these turbines experience.   Innovation: Together with its partners, EARTO member ECN developed remote sensing wind measurement devices based on laser technology. Such sensors take measurements 24/7 and publish wind speeds from a range of altitudes from 0 to 300m height at ten minute intervals. The wind studies and multi-year measurements in particular provide reliable projections of the expected wind conditions for project developers. The measured data are published online.   Impact expected: Reducing uncertainty in the wind conditions reduces the costs of offshore wind farms considerably. It also increases transparency in the wind energy industry, leading to higher investor confidence and further reductions in the cost of energy of offshore wind power. ECN has installed several remote sensing wind measurement devices on various platforms in the Dutch part of the North Sea resulting in a considerable drop of the wind energy cost.   National programme: The innovation has benefitted from developments in LiDAR technology. Especially the development of the (EU programme) has assisted the availability of high-quality measurement equipment. The measurement programme is the result of national funding (direct from government to ECN). The development was largely EU funded  
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  ECN is the largest energy Research institute in the country. ECN is active in joint projects with industry, government and research institutes