Vaisala's Triton Validated in Largest-Ever Comparison Study

After evaluating sites on 4 continents and over 50,000 hours of collected wind data, study confirms Triton is as accurate as met towers for wind resource assessment.

A study released today by Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, has evaluated over 50,000 hours of wind data gathered from customer sites on 4 continents to conclude that the Vaisala Triton Wind Profiler is as accurate for wind resource assessment applications as a traditional met tower.


The validation study, conducted by the Vaisala 3TIER Services wind resource assessment team, is the largest of its kind ever to have been undertaken. The project compares data measured by the Triton to data collected from collocated met towers. Rather than focusing on a single met tower and a single remote sensor, the study analyzes them both in real commercial deployments all over the world, across a wide range of weather regimes and geographic locations, over an extended period.

"The wind energy industry needs accurate wind measurements and energy forecasts to grow and operate efficiently," said Kenneth Hörhammer, the Director of the Energy Market Segment at Vaisala. "At the same time, we need to look to measurement methods that are reliable and easy to deploy, and which reduce costs and environmental impacts."

As the wind industry has matured, taller wind turbines with longer blades have been introduced to improve efficiency by taking advantage of stronger winds at higher heights. "This means that the turbines have quite literally outgrown the met towers that have been the standard form of wind measurement used to finance wind development," said Dr. Mark Stoelinga, Senior Scientist at Vaisala and the study's primary author.

Wind industry remote sensing technologies, such as LiDAR or SoDAR, employ light waves or sound waves to measure wind conditions at the heights where most wind turbines now operate. During the last decade, remote sensing systems have developed to complement and even become a viable alternative to met towers.

To establish the accuracy of remote sensing systems, correlation studies typically compare the performance of one remote sensing system to a nearby met tower. "The importance of these individual validation studies cannot be underestimated. They have given the wind industry confidence in remote sensing data and allowed it to develop more efficient, profitable projects," said Hörhammer. "However, we wanted to give the financial community far greater confidence by answering the question with significantly more data from actual wind development sites rather than test sites."

To do this, Vaisala's 3TIER Services team - a group with extensive experience in wind resource assessment and due diligence - conducted the study using customer-supplied data from Tritons in commercial use. The analysis, titled "Triton Remote Sensing Systems: Comparing Accuracy with Collocated Met Towers," is much broader and more far-reaching than the single studies that have been used to validate remote sensing systems in the past.

"We followed the same analytical methods as the single studies, but we applied these methods to a vast body of data volunteered by leading wind developers," said Dr. Stoelinga. "The results of the analysis show that in actual field use, Triton is as accurate as a met tower."

For more information or to request a copy of the study, visit http://forms.vaisala.com/triton-comparison-study.

Vaisala is an expert in wind measurement, project assessment, and energy forecasting. For more information on the range of services offered by Vaisala to the renewable energy sector, please visit www.vaisala.com/energy.

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