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Wind Resource Assessment Audit and Standardization

Final Report Summary - WAUDIT (Wind Resource Assessment Audit and Standardization)

According to a recent report on human resources from the European Wind Energy Academy ("Workers wanted, The EU wind energy sector skills gap", EWEA, August 2013) there is a shortage of 7000 qualified personnel to meet the demands of the wind energy sector every year until 2030. While recruitment in the R&D area only accounts for a 1% share, its impact on providing sustained technology development and post-graduate training is key for the sector. Currently, there is a shortage of wind energy researchers in Europe and very limited EU-wide post-graduate training programmes.

The objective of WAUDIT is the generation of a pool of researchers in order to support the technological development of wind energy as one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. To this end The WAUDIT Marie Curie network has gathered 23 fellows from 13 European institutions working together on the development of wind resource assessment techniques.

The scientific motivation of the project is grounded on current state-of-the-art at industrial level. A technical audit to industry provides the point of departure for the development of new levels of standardization on added value wind assessment techniques. To this end a questionnaire was circulated across European organizations to ask about the methodologies they use for wind resource assessment. In total, 72 wind analysts from 48 different organizations contributed to the survey, whose results are summarized in a public report available in the WAUDIT website. Current state-of-the-art shows large spread in the wind assessment uncertainties due to the wide range of methodologies and the lack of proper validation of most of them. Advanced measurement and modeling techniques are being integrated progressively at different levels depending on the organization type: developer, manufacturer, consultant or research. Furthermore, the perception of the performance of the numerical models is not homogeneous among the different organizations, indicating a lack of common background knowledge of the wind assessment field. The research priorities of the sector were identified as: remote sensing, model validation and models for atmospheric turbulence, forests and wakes. They are all covered by the WAUDIT network and are within the strategic areas of the European Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind) and European Energy Research Alliance (EERA-Wind). As a conclusion of this survey, a recipe for a success story in wind resource assessment is reduced to three ingredients: 1) Develop wind assessment specific training programs, 2) Validate methodologies based on dedicated measurement campaigns, and 3) Define quality-check procedures for the integration of simulation tools based on standardized criteria.

The development of advanced measurement and numerical and physical modelling techniques provides a benchmark of alternatives whose potential is assessed by the network. The network covers a wide range of research topics distributed among six work packages: Remote sensing with Lidar and WindScanner systems; CFD microscale modelling of flow over terrain, forests and wind turbines with stratified atmospheric boundary layers; Wind tunnel modelling of atmospheric flow over terrain and wind turbines; Multifractal and stochastic characterization of atmospheric turbulence; High resolution downscaling from mesoscale to microscale using multi-scale models and meso-micro coupling; Ensemble (probabilistic) forecasting used for the assessment of mean and extreme winds; and Offshore meteorology.

Validation and demonstration test cases allows to benchmark the different wind assessment methodologies. By consensus building it is possible to establish some guidelines for a certain degree of standardization of the modelling methodology in order to ensure a minimum level of quality and repeatability in the results. To this end, the procedures outlined in COST-732 Action ("Quality Assurance and Improvement of Micro-Scale Meteorological Models") have been adapted to the wind resource assessment application resulting in a guidance report that has been adopted by the network. This standardization on model evaluation procedures has also motivated the launch of a new Task in the frame of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Wind Implementing Agreement. Task 31 "Wakebench" constitutes an international forum for the benchmarking of flow models where some of the validation test cases of the WAUDIT network have been proposed. In particular it is worth mentioning the benchmarking activities carried out during the "Alaiz secondment" at CENER, that gathered modellers and experimentalists to explore different techniques around a common test case, CENER's test site in complex terrain. The result of this benchmarking activity is a review paper that provides an updated vision of current capabilities of wind assessment techniques.

At training level, WAUDIT aims at providing the best working environment for early stage researchers based on the main actors on wind energy research: universities, research centres and industrial partners. A total of 30 organizations from 8 different EU member states have contributed to the general wind energy training programme, carried out under the umbrella of the European Wind Energy Academy (EAWE). The Academy brings together most of the PhD students working on the wind energy field in Europe, to form a new generation of researchers with a common collaborative working philosophy. A series of three schools have been organized with a hierarchy of courses, from a general context to specialized modules, on all the multidisciplinary aspects of wind energy. Training on complementary aspects like project management, presentation skills, scientific writing, entrepreneurship and commercial project development also contribute to broaden their knowledge to other non-technical aspects of high relevance for their careers. Every year the fellows participate in the EAWE PhD Seminar where they present their progress to other European colleagues. In total, 15 PhD thesis have been developed with support from the WAUDIT project. The network has published more than 100 contributions to journals, conferences and technical reports.

The association of the fellows to industrial partners also allowed a direct exchange of knowledge which eventually culminated with secondments for collaborative research and demonstration activities, where the fellows test the feasibility and potential of the tools developed during their research.
The organization of training-through-research programmes like this Initial Training Network provide excellent possibilities for the development of long term collaborations in research and training activities. The activities coordinated by the EAWE perfectly fit in this framework, providing the best forum for the carrying out of joint programmes with strong training content and, therefore, reducing fragmentation in Europe. The aim for standardized methods reinforce this coordinated action which will be the main asset to maintain the European leadership worldwide in the development of wind energy technology, as well as meeting the EU policies for guarantying a safe and sustainable energy supply while adapting to the impact of climate change.

The impact of the WAUDIT network can be contextualized in the Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind) as well as European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) strategies, on the development of concrete short-term educational programmes to meet the high and increasing demands of the renewable energy industry. At research level, the network embraces priority research areas in the Wind Conditions thematic area, whose vision is to reduce uncertainties in wind resource assessment and forecasting below 3% by 2030.

It the general European Energy Policy context, the network joins the challenge that Europe is facing in guarantying a safe and sustainable energy supply while adapting to the impact of climate change. In this context, renewable energies play a preponderant role with wind energy sharing a very significant share of greenhouse gas emission savings. More reliable wind energy assessment procedures will allow a more efficient approach to the Member States’ Kyoto targets. State-of-the-art technology like WAUDIT's will support the European leadership in terms of renewable energy use and greenhouse gas saving strategies, with most promising economical and environmental potential. In order to sustain this position in wind energy, it is very important to support research and education on this crucial field.

Address of the project website:
Contact person: Dr. Javier Sanz Rodrigo, Scientific and Technical Coordinator, Senior Researcher from the Wind Energy Department at the National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain (CENER), Calle Ciudad de la Innovación 7, 31621-Sarriguren, Spain. Tel. 0034 948270774,