New Zealand Wind Prospecting
New Zealand has an excellent wind resource, making it ideal for wind power generation. However wind prospecting using traditional tools often requires costly and time-consuming preliminary field research in order to locate a suitable site. Our new advanced spatial data modelling tools can provide a fresh perspective on these questions, allowing the developers to save up to two years and $5 million dollars right at the beginning of the project. Our wind energy prospecting techniques were developed and tested in New Zealand, and have successfully been used to identify existing wind farm projects and potential sites for new wind farms. These modelling techniques have not been applied within the wind farm industry in New Zealand before, so could be an excellent resource for any company wanting to find land for new wind farm projects in New Zealand.
Using spatial data modelling techniques our prospecting tool takes the variables that influence wind farm site selection and combines them into one map that identifies suitable wind farm locations. The spatial variables considered in this model are wind speed, terrain, elevation, proximity to roads, proximity to power lines, population density, distance from built up areas, distance from waterways, and consideration for land use and conservation areas. Predictive maps of these variables were created in a GIS and were weighted and combined using fuzzy logic modelling tools. All spatial data used in this model are held by Kenex and came from a number of different organisations including Aurecon, DOC, GNS Science, NIWA, and Terralink.
Quality wind speed data is a requirement in any wind modelling project and mesoscale modelling by Aurecon that predicts the wind speed over a study area is utilised in our NZ wind energy prospecting work. This modelling of atmospheric data provides us with continuous detailed coverage of wind speed and wind direction. Aurecon have also provided precious technical expertise on wind farm terrain and design.
Our current New Zealand-wide model has successfully identified existing and planned wind farm locations and also ruled out areas known to be unsuitable for wind farm development (e.g., National Parks, waterways, and towns). It has also identified new potentially suitable areas that have been used as individual regions of interest for a series of detailed regional wind energy models. In these models we have used better resolution mesoscale wind speed data from Aurecon and advanced terrain modelling to predict areas that are suitable and where there is unlikely to be turbulence from terrain features. This regional modelling can be used to map the possible extent of a wind farm, plan how many turbines might be supported at the site, and even target areas to investigate for turbine placement. The results of these models have been used by Genesis Energy in New Zealand to locate new sites for wind farm development and determine possible turbine layouts at current prospects.