The deployment was in the challenging terrain of the Atacama Desert - II Region - a virtually rainless plateau covering a 600 mile strip of land on the Pacific Coast of South America. According to Mainstream, temperatures can rise to an extreme of over 40 °C during the day and drop to -10 °C after sunset. “It is these thermal effects that are of interest to Mainstream due to the effect on wind shear in the area - provoked through Katabatic winds at night time - whilst the hot desert ground during the day leads to convectional forced vertical wind components and turbulence”.
Mainstream found that traditional anemometry, for example using tall masts and cup anemometers which provide wind data up to 80m above ground, were “not appropriate as the sole measurements in this case due to their limited height”. Mainstream looked at a range of remote sensing technologies before selecting Natural Power’s ZephIR lidar.
Natural Power established a Chile office based in Valparaíso during 2009, to serve the South American market. Projects to date have ranged from advanced resource analysis to construction services for a range of international clients, including the latest lidar campaign for Mainstream.