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Wind Energy End-Use Applications


by Edvard

Wind Ene rg y End -Us e Ap p lic atio ns (p ho to b y SCA Sve ns ka Ce llulo s a Aktie b o lag e t)

Markets
Wind energy markets can be classif ied based on the end-use application of the technology. Wind energy projects are common f or off-grid applications. However, the largest market potential f or wind energy projects is with on-grid (or grid-connected) applications.

Of f -grid applicat ions


Historically, wind energy was most competitive in remote sites, f ar f rom the electric grid and requiring relatively small amounts of power, typically less than 10 kW. In these of f -grid applications, wind energy is typically used in the charging of batteries that store the energy captured by the wind turbines and provides the user with electrical energy on demand, as depicted in Figure 1.

Water pumping , where water, rather than energy, can be stored f or f uture use, is also a key historical application of wind energy. T he key competitive area f or wind energy in remote of f -grid power applications is against electric grid extension, primary (disposable) batteries, diesel, gas and thermoelectric generators. Wind energy is also competitive in water pumping applications.

On-grid applicat ions


In on-grid applications the wind energy system f eeds electrical energy directly into the electric utility grid. Two on-grid application types can be distinguished. 1. Isolated-grid electricity generation , with wind turbine generation capacity typically ranging f rom approximately 10 kW to 200 kW. 2. Central-grid electricity generation , with wind turbine generation capacity typically ranging f rom approximately 200 kW to 2 MW.

Isolat ed-grids
Isolated-grids are common in remote areas. Electricity generation is of ten relatively expensive due to the high cost of transporting diesel f uel to these isolated sites. However, if the site has good local winds, a small wind energy project could be installed to help supply a portion of the electricity requirements. T hese wind energy projects are normally ref erred to as wind-diesel hybrid systems. T he wind energy systems primary role is to help reduce the amount of diesel f uel consumption. A wind-diesel hybrid system is shown in Figure 2.

Cent ral-grids
Central-grid applications f or wind energy projects are becoming more common.

Fig ure 1 - 10 kW O ff-G rid Wind Turb ine in Me xic o . Pho to Cre d it to Charle s Ne wc o mb e r/NREL Pix

forestry. Another common approach f or wind energy project development includes the installation of one or more larger scale wind turbines by individuals, businesses or cooperatives. A windf arm, as depicted in Figure 3, consists of a number of wind turbines (which are often installed in rows perpendicular to the wind direction), access roads, electrical interconnections and a substation, a monitoring and control system and a maintenance building f or the larger f arms. T he development of a wind energy project includes the determination of the wind resource, the acquisition of all authorisations and permits, the design and specif ication of the civil, electrical and mechanical inf rastructure, the layout of the wind turbines, the purchasing of the equipment, the construction and the commissioning of the installation. Construction involves the following: 1. Preparing the site, 2. Grading roads, 3. Building turbine f oundations, 4. Installing the electrical collection lines and transf ormers, 5. Erecting the turbines, and 6. Construction of the substation and building. T he wind resource assessment and approvals for a windfarm are of ten the longest activities in the development of the wind energy project. T hese can take up to 4 years in the case of a large windf arm requiring a comprehensive environmental impact study. T he construction itself can normally be completed within one year. T he precise determination of the wind Fig ure 3 - Co mp o ne nts o f a Wind farm in the Unite d State s . Pho to Cre d it to resource at a given site is one of the Warre n G re tz /NREL Pix most important aspects in the development of a wind energy project as the available wind resource at the project site can dramatically impact the cost of wind energy production.
Fig ure 2 - 50 kW Is o late d -G rid Wind Turb ine in the Arc tic . Pho to Cre d it to Phil O we ns /Nunavut Po we r Co rp .

In the case where a pre-feasibility study indicates that a proposed wind energy project could be f inancially viable, it is typically recommended that a project developer take at least a f ull year of wind measurements at the exact location where the wind energy project is going to be installed. Figure 4 shows the installation of a 40 m tall meteorologi-cal mast at the CANMET Energy Technology Centre Varennes in Canada. For very small-scale projects (e.g. off-grid battery charging and water pumping), the cost of wind monitoring could actually be higher than the cost to purchase and install a small wind turbine. In this case a detailed wind resource assessment would normally not be completed.

Fig ure 4 - Ins tallatio n o f a 40 m Me te o ro lo g ic al Mas t. Pho to Cre d it to G PCo Inc .

Science in t he Cit y: Alt amont Wind Farms (VIDEO)


Southeast of San Francisco, on the way out to Calif ornias Central Valley, thousands of wind turbines dot the landscape of Altamont Pass. Mounted both in rows and individually, machines with large propellers catch the wind, turning round and round at dif f erent speeds. Learn how wind energy is generated and stored f or use in this most peculiar area, and its impact on living things both near and f ar. Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube. Resource: CLEAN ENERGY PROJECT ANALYSIS: RETSCREEN ENGINEERING & CASES TEXTBOOK Canmet Energy Technology Centre