Keeping the wind energy industry moving during COVID-19

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected the health of millions of people globally — including two million Europeans. This transition has led to a steep change in the traditional European workspace and work habits. With stay-at-home and social distancing orders, wind energy industry professionals are struggling to find the resources to complete field tasks and tasks that require travel.

The wind energy industry specifically is experiencing supply shortages due to the uncertainty from COVID-19. These projects also require face-to-face meetings with communities, permitting authorities and government bodies.

But even with those challenges during COVID-19, in certain European states, such as Greece, renewable energy projects have continued to proceed, even while the country manages the effects of the pandemic. Conducting wind measurement is one way to advance wind farm development at this time, and doing so with remote sensors makes the most sense during a pandemic.

Remote sensing saves time
Lidars in wind measurement have been used for more than a decade, and the pandemic has proven how essential these mobile sensors are to advance wind prospecting projects.

In Greece, our installation partner 2EN has been installing lidar sensors for the last 10 years. In fact, 2EN continued working safely through this global health crisis due to the ease of deployment of wind measurement lidars. While met masts require time to obtain permits and then days for installation, a lidar can be deployed in less than an hour. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a permit for met masts has been a challenge for wind farm developers, delaying the onset of measurement by weeks or months. The clients of 2EN have appreciated the speed and safety with which a measurement campaign can be done.

Employing lidar sensors for a wind farm’s measurement is the best way to obtain measurements quickly. The installation is complete in hours, and the lidar instantly tracks wind measurements at a distance of more than 200m— measuring the complete wind profile for even the largest wind turbines — giving your project a head start compiling robust data during the months-long process of prospecting a field for development.

Lidar measurement and social distancing
Lidar sensors for wind measurement are compact and easy to set up and maneuver. Complications with social distancing amid the pandemic mean developers need to consider doing more with less. During the COVID-19 health crisis, using fewer people on the job is safer. Lidar technology for wind measurement utilizes as few as two trained installers. A met mast poses a more complicated assembly, using upward of eight individuals.

Additionally, because many hotels across Greece, and the rest of the continent, are closed, traveling away from home to do work — such as wind measurement installations — becomes a logistical challenge. Remote sensing installations make sense to ensure these smaller installation teams are not inconvenienced for too long.

Obtaining wind data is crucial in receiving approval to finance a new development project. The wind measurement process can take up to a year, and utilizing remote sensing during this time is the right step forward. Although the pandemic has shut down many industries, developers can effectively use this time to gather the data your project needs to acquire funding. The ease of installation makes the process faster and hassle free, using fewer people. Remote sensing for measurement will keep the industry moving forward and position the wind industry for success in this new normal.

About the Author:
Ameya Paseband is a renewable energy engineer for Leosphere, a Vaisala company, and works on lidar applications in aviation, wind energy and meteorology. He is an experienced trainer who has worked with many diverse customers in over 20 countries. As a field engineer for Leosphere, he has worked on various lidar applications during all stages of a wind project. 

 

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