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Public Interest Energy Research Program: Final Project Report

cover of report Wind Anemometer Loan Program Protocol

Publication Number: CEC-500-2005-182
Publication Date: December 2005
PIER Program Area: Renewable Energy Technologies

The executive summary, abstract and table of contents for this report are available below. This publication is available as an Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format Files. In order to download, read and print PDF files, you will need a copy of the free Acrobat Reader software installed in and configured for your computer. The software can be downloaded from Adobe Systems Incorporated's website.

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Introduction

A lack of good wind data is one of the greatest obstacles to the development of wind energy at new sites in California. On-site evaluation of wind conditions is a necessary step in both large and small scale wind resource development. Currently in California, there is a lack of publicly-accessible data on wind conditions in the types of terrain where wind turbines would be located. While private wind developers have extensive databases of the conditions at their sites, this data is considered too sensitive for most companies to release to outsiders. The recent completion of maps predicting the wind resource potential across the state of California needs to be evaluated for accuracy using wind information recorded at potential wind sites. And landowners interested in installing small wind turbines are often discouraged by the difficulty of evaluating their own wind resource. A viable anemometer loan program would address all of these cases, providing quality wind resource information from sites across the state to any and all interested parties.

This document describes research conducted on anemometry and anemometer loan programs, and gives a preliminary outline of the workings of a Wind Anemometer Loan Program, to be established in order to provide high quality wind information for sites in California. To achieve this goal, a number of steps have been undertaken, including surveying and evaluating wind information recording equipment, developing a protocol for the operation of an anemometer loan program, and assessing the anemometry and data needs of industry and other information users in the wind energy field. It has been found that it is feasible to set up and operate an anemometer loan program in California, that there a variety of ways in which such a program could be operated, depending on the priority of the program goals and the availability of financial and other resources to the program.


Abstract

The factors involved to implement an anemometer loan program in California are investigated. An anemometer loan program in California would allow the compilation of large, publicly accessible, state-wide dataset of wind conditions gathered specifically for wind energy development uses. Anemometry equipment has become both more reliable and less expensive in recent years. Sonic anemometers are found to be more reliable and provide higher quality data at a higher price than conventional cup anemometers, although prices are coming down. A prototype system is deployed and evaluated, with satisfactory results. The operation of existing anemometer loan programs in other states is described. The factors to be considered in implementing an anemometer loan program in California are discussed, and recommendations for implementation are given.



Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Equipment to Measure the Wind Resource

2.1 Components of a Wind Information Recording System

2.2 Anemometers

2.3 Barometric Pressure, Temperature and Humidity Instruments

2.4 Additional Measurements: Wind Shear and Atmospheric Stability

3. The CWEC Prototype Wind Information Recording System

3.1 Description of the CWEC Prototype System

3.2 Prototype System Performance

4. Existing Anemometer Loan Programs

5. Anemometer Calibration

6. An Anemometer Loan Program for California

6.1 The Goals of a California Anemometer Loan Program

6.2 Use of Local Landowners or Stakeholders

6.3 Program Initiation

6.4 Program Location

6.5 Wind Information Recording System Recommendations

6.6 Proposed Standard for Wind Information Measurement and Storage

7. Estimates of Labor and Costs for an Anemometer Loan Program


Acknowledgements

Appendix A. Purchased Components of Wind Information Recording System

Appendix B. Cost Comparisons of Other WIR Systems

Appendix C. Wind Tunnel Calibration Results for Vaisala and RM Young Anemometers


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