Vaisala’s Triton Wind Profiler remote sensing system has shown exceptional performance across two winters in the northern reaches of Finland says the company.
Vaisala deployed two Tritons to measure wind resources for Finnish developer and operator Puhuri Oy, proving the resilience of the system in extreme winter conditions and the strategic and logistical advantages of remote sensing for wind energy firms in cold climates across the globe.
Wind energy developers are increasingly exploring wind potential in northern latitudes, encouraged by high wind speeds and a clear route to project permitting far from population centres. Innovation in cold-climate wind turbine technology, such as anti-icing and heating systems, has accelerated the expansion of the wind energy in markets such as northern Europe and Canada. However, while advancements in turbine technology are driving growth, shortfalls in traditional resource assessment and site analysis approaches have in many cases thwarted the efforts of developers and operators in these regions. Cold, icy weather complicates the installation of measurement masts and can damage mechanical sensors, while off-grid locations and low solar availability in polar regions make it difficult and costly to keep large instruments powered-up.
Remote sensing is swiftly becoming the preferred approach for collecting hub-height measurements for wind resource assessment and also enables developers to collect reliable early-site data before making further investment decisions. Yet, when it comes to operations in temperatures down to -40°C, many remote sensing devices suffer from performance and reliability issues – ranging from icing issues to intensive fuel requirements - that ultimately drive up maintenance costs and affect the quality of the data collected.
“We build and operate wind parks in some of the world’s most challenging weather conditions” said Teppo Hilakivi, Technical Expert at Puhuri Oy. “Vaisala’s Triton is the only practical way to reduce the uncertainty in our annual energy projections, allowing us to improve the profitability of our development process. Triton’s resilience in cold climate conditions is impressive – its measurements are very accurate and the power consumption is so low that we can easily keep it running for three or four months without refuelling. And when it does come time to move the Triton to a new site, it’s light enough to be towed by a normal passenger car.”
The Triton Wind Profiler has been designed to withstand harsh winter weather conditions and the compact, mobile unit has the lowest power requirements of any system used in the wind industry. It incorporates an optional methanol-fuelled extended power option to supplement the Triton’s solar panels during low sunlight months, offering continuous, unattended operation for several months without refuelling.
These features have enabled Puhuri Oy to conduct extensive 6- to 14-month measurement campaigns throughout northern Finland, improving the profitability of the company’s wind development projects.
Vaisala has deployed the Triton Wind Profiler at over 3,700 locations across more than 30 countries worldwide to support project stakeholders from site and resource assessment to ongoing operational performance analysis.