Wind Plant Design and Energy Assessment

Optimal plant design and accurate energy assessments are the key to realistic expectations for project performance and have significant impact on project finance. We pride ourselves on being transparent – using calibrated energy assessment methods that have been validated against operational data. The foundation of our energy assessments includes high-resolution models, resource assessment campaign design, and rigorous measure-correlate-predict (MCP) analyses.

Early-stage plant design and energy assessment

It is helpful to have a realistic understanding of the scope and production potential of your project at an early stage in the development process. Using our high-resolution wind resource maps and other data, we can design a preliminary turbine layout and estimate the annual energy output quickly and efficiently.

Early-stage assessments of wind and solar projects can serve several goals:

  • Guide technology selection – which wind turbines or solar technologies are likely to be most suitable?
  • Gauge developable potential – How many megawatts of wind or solar plant could be built on the site, given the technology, terrain, land cover, transmission access, and plausible environmental and other constraints?
  • Support permitting and community acceptance – preliminary plant designs can support photo visualizations, noise studies, and other analyses to advance permitting and promote community acceptance.
  • Support financial models and early-stage financing – what is the likely net energy production at various levels of confidence? Such information feeds the financial models that attract investors and lenders and help determine whether a project is feasible.

Advanced plant design and energy assessment

As your wind project matures, optimal plant design and accurate estimation of the future production become essential. Our methods, trusted by developers and financial institutions alike, are transparent, proven, and have been validated against operational data.  

UL’s comprehensive scope of services include:

  • Site visit – an experienced field engineer will visit your project site to verify and document the monitoring location(s), sensor types and mountings, topography, obstacles, and land cover.
  • Review of the meteorological program – we will review the status, history, and overall quality of the project’s solar monitoring program, and identify and communicate to your team any opportunities for improvement.
  • Resource analysis – we will quality-control the raw resource data from your solar monitoring system (SMS) to identify and remove or replace bad data. We will provide resource summaries, including monthly and annual mean speeds, wind roses, speed frequency distribution parameters, diurnal speed and shear patterns, and turbulence and extreme winds.
  • Climate adjustment – The most representative historical database (s) will be further examined for the need to 1) adjust the data set to represent solar and meteorological conditions at the specific site location of interest and 2) correct for any potential biases identified in the available data sets.
  • Modeling of the spatial distribution across the project site.
  • Detailed Loss Assessment – Plant losses are estimated based on our experience with other projects and through analysis of regional or site-specific information. Several loss factors are used as inputs to the performance model and applied uniformly to all operating conditions which are estimated based on plant characteristics, local environment, and industry typical values.
  • Estimate Uncertainty – Uncertainty estimates will be developed for the insolation data derived previously and the energy production estimates, taking into account inter-annual variability in the resource, uncertainty of the measured or modeled resource data, representativeness of the long-term climate, spatial variability, simulation and plant losses, and other factors as appropriate to the project analysis.
  • Plant design and energy production – The energy production analysis will result in a first year gross and net energy estimate, capacity factor, and performance ratio, along with data of monthly and diurnal energy characteristics.

Bankable energy production reports

When projects go to financing, investors and lenders ask one question: Whose opinion can we trust? Increasingly, it is UL’s. Our comprehensive and authoritative reports are widely recognized and accepted in the financial sector, giving you confidence in overcoming financing hurdles. Bankable energy production reports provide developers, investors, and lenders with a thorough, objective, and well-documented evaluation of the energy production potential of a wind or solar project. UL has authored reports for nearly 200,000 MW of wind and solar plants worldwide, and our reports are widely respected and accepted in the financial community.

Wind flow models and resource data

Having your team carry out part of the design and analysis of a project can give you more control over the development process. We can provide the advanced wind flow modeling, time series data (virtual met masts), expert advice, and other support you need to be successful. Combined with Openwind software, we are a one-stop shop for developers seeking to get the most from their internal resources. Learn more.

Openwind Software

Openwind is an advanced wind plant design and energy estimation software package designed for sophisticated users, yet fully compatible with industry standards. Built on a GIS-style architecture allowing elegant solutions to complex problems, Openwind employs the latest technology for such areas as wake losses, road and cabling layout and costing, energy and cost-of-energy optimization, time-series energy capture, and uncertainty modeling. Learn more.