Wind research findings, released today by CanWEA and GE, will inform key energy infrastructure planning and accelerate the integration of wind power across Canada
Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, today announced that a public report has been released detailing findings from the groundbreaking Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study (PCWIS) co-funded by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Vaisala played a key role in the project, supporting primary contractor, GE Energy Consulting, in carrying out this major research undertaking.
"With an already strong base of operational wind farms that place Canada seventh in the world for installed capacity, Canada's outstanding wind resources provide an opportunity to significantly multiply its wind power output over the next 15 years," said Robert Hornung, CanWEA President. "Wind energy can play a significant role in a shift towards a low carbon economy that will reduce Canada's dependence on fossil fuels in a number of sectors, including energy and transportation."
However, when bringing such a large volume of wind energy online in a short space of time, it will be important to anticipate pressures this may create on the Canadian grid, and take steps to accommodate the associated variability to maintain the integrity and reliability of the system.
CanWEA's study is the first of its kind to cover the whole of Canada and makes use of Vaisala's wind modeling expertise to investigate and quantify the operational impact of integrating large quantities of wind energy into the grid. It also presents a number of new cross-border opportunities, given Canada's access to many portions of the northern U.S. electrical grid.
Vaisala developed wind production profiles based on wind speed data provided by Environment Canada, allowing the project team to build and model a number of different wind penetration scenarios. In turn, the study was able to identify the possible influences of wind energy on system operations and evaluate options, such as advanced wind forecasting and more flexible dispatching of other generation resources, to mitigate any challenges to reliability. The study analyzed 20% and 35% system total scenarios and ultimately found that Canada can integrate large amounts of wind energy both reliably and cost-effectively.
Vaisala offers dedicated renewable energy consulting and information services, following its acquisition of 3TIER, Inc. in late 2013. The company has unmatched expertise in supporting large-scale integration studies, and is a recognized industry leader in applying weather simulation modeling to accurately predict wind power production over large geographic areas and long-term climatological windows.
The Pan-Canadian study leverages numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and advanced statistical techniques to provide wind data across Canada and parts of the northern U.S. The resulting dataset includes three years of meteorological data at 10-minute intervals and 2 km horizontal resolution as well as detailed energy production profiles for nearly 55,000 potential onshore wind project locations.
"North America has excellent wind resources, and wind energy's installed cost is becoming increasingly competitive," added Hornung. "What is crucial is to ensure reliable grid operation as large amounts of wind energy are brought online. Efficiently and reliably making the transition to wind energy requires identifying how infrastructure and markets must adapt to accommodate its generation on a grand scale. The PWCIS provides a deeper understanding of the management of wind resource variability from a national and cross-border perspective."
"For a study of this complexity, we were pleased to work with CanWEA and Vaisala, both recognized leaders in the global wind energy industry," said Bahman Daryanian, the study's technical director and project manager, and also Technical Director for GE's Energy Consulting business. "By combining the expertise of Vaisala with CanWEA's knowledge of wind power and Canadian energy markets, this study paves the way to a greater understanding of the role wind energy can play in Canada's future energy mix."
To read the study report please visit http://canwea.ca/wind-energy/wind-integration-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.