The wind atlas, which was commissioned by the Ministry of the Economy of Rhineland Palatinate, comprises maps showing the wind energy potential of seven natural regions for four hub heights. According to the Ministry, standardised state-wide wind mapping could provide a better basis for making decisions related to the development of wind energy potential in the state.
"We have created the first standardised dataset for wind energy potential in Rhineland Palatinate, at just under 50 pages,” said Peter Herbert Meier, head of wind cert services at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH. TÜV SÜD's experts spent a total of four months collecting and modelling the data for hub heights of 100, 120, 140 and 160 m.
In contrast to coastal areas, the variety in relief structures greatly influences 'near-ground wind field' in inland areas. Because of this, the requirements for spatial modelling of wind speeds are higher in these areas. To ensure maximum data quality in spite of these difficulties, TÜV SÜD's experts cooperated closely with operators, turbine manufacturers, the German Wind Energy Association and several ministries during the wind mapping process. Consideration of the energy yield of existing wind turbines has resulted in a broader set of data and more accuracy in the modelling of wind energy potential.
The maps have a resolution of 50 x 50 m and reflect hilltops and hollows very precisely, allowing a more accurate assessment of the planned wind energy sites. This in turn can provide regional and municipal planning with a way to more exactly assess the areas in question.
"We have presented the results for Rhineland-Palatinate in maps that show the wind energy potential in seven natural environments,” explained Thomas Zirngibl, project manager wind atlas at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service. "When choosing these natural regions, we ensured that wind conditions within the regions were similar and transferable." The wind atlas differentiates between the Westerwald, Eifel, Trier (Mosel valley), Hunsrück, Palatinate, Rhine-Neckar und Rhinehesse regions.
The fact that some hub heights reach up to 160 m is also a result of progress in wind-turbine technology. "Higher and more powerful turbines can now reach the high-wind and low-turbulence air layers where winds are stronger and more consistent," explains Zirngibl. The wind atlas also provides planners and owners with the information needed to find suitable wind-energy sites and assess future energy yield, and includes an evaluation of the uncertainties in individual regions based on the underlying data.
TÜV SÜD also drew up wind atlases for Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2010 and 2011 and for Hesse in 2012.
An overview of the wind energy potential in Rhineland Palatinate in form of an interactive map can be found here.