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Report: Innovative laser based wind measurements reduce cost of energy for wind farms

Using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) can increase the value of a typical Dutch wind farm by over €1mn, according to Ecofys consultants, which recently initiated a study to help bring down barriers for wind energy projects in the Netherlands.

These first-time results quantify how much targeted measurement campaigns help to improve the value of a wind farm. Ecofys has done this specifically for a typical Dutch wind farm where, until today, performing measurements is still fairly rare. On an average investment of €30mn for a standard 20 MW or 8 turbine wind farm, performing proper measurements can lead to a much better financial picture for the wind farm owner, the company says.

Wind farm developers seek reducing uncertainties in the financing of wind farm projects and aim for an optimal business case. Erik Holtslag, business developer at Ecofys says: “These methods help to better quantify the wind speeds and will therefore help wind farm developers to take the right decisions and make the right choices regarding project financing.”

Over the past years, the Dutch wind energy market has seen an increase in the size of wind farm projects. At the same time, the government has raised its target for the Dutch renewable energy levels to be achieved by 2020 and is stimulating the market to decrease the dependency on subsidies.

LiDAR consists of a laser-based measurement device which makes it possible to measure wind characteristics up to 200 meters above ground level in order to quickly and flexibly determine the potential of a project. According to the study’s data, the new system can help to secure better finance conditions from banks, leading to a lower cost of energy. This in turn will help the government to achieve its renewable energy targets in a faster and more economical way. 

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