Services

“Wind, solar and hydro
services of advice and
operations with climate change”

ISOBARS -

SERVICES

1.

DATA ANALYSIS

At ISOBARS we apply Business Intelligence and Software typical of data handling as a method for analysing great quantities of “gross” data in the wind, solar and hydrological sector. With this process, the aim is to obtain valuable information to make commercial, strategic, and operative decisions, utilising technology to provide unique services and solutions which are of value to our clients. The data to be analysed come both from meteorological towers and SODAR/LIDAR remote detection teams during the pre-constructive phase of projects, just like the operational data coming from the SCADA systems of the plant, including the CMS systems installed in the aerogenerators. Through all of this information, ISOBARS carries out a process of data assimilation and allows adjustment of climate change models with view to generating better adjusted predictions.

2.

EVALUATION OF WIND RESOURCE

ISOBARS has developed a new model of estimation of wind resource based on projections of climate change along with the industry’s most used tools and simulation software, such as regionalisation of the wind farm through mesoscale and microscale models. The model uses global models in general circulation which have been forced with distinct scenarios taken by the IPCC, to later apply a process of downscaling to mesoscale utilising models such as the WRF. Finally, it can fit together linear models or CFD to take into account the accelerations or decelerations of the wind in the case of complex topography and/or conditions of atmospheric stability. As a result, multiple scenarios (ensemble of simulations) are obtained, which describe the wind resource in the site and its potential variations with the distinct evolutions of climatology owing to the impact of climate change. It is worth noting that ISOBARS can also supply time series with time resolutions, and until the year 2050, corresponding to all possible climatological scenarios. For more information please see the next page.

3.

WIND FARM DESIGN

Once wind resource has been estimated, we can not only deduce the variations in wind distribution, but also the parameters that end up being key in the design of wind farms and the selection of machine: vertical axis, turbulence intensity, air density, maximum velocities, etc. What’s more, the variations in wind direction and therefore the wind rose can be inferred. As a consequence of the distinct scenarios, the optimal solution for layout and machine can change, with the impact on losses through wake, machine charges, and extreme events being critical. ISOBARS has developed a specific methodology which allows the optimal solution for wind farm design. In addition to the above, when looking at designs, Isobars bears other factors in mind, such as the influence in electrical losses, extreme events which affect the design of the foundations and even the structural integrity of the machine, and ice-related events which are so significant in latitudes closer to the poles.

4.

PRODUCTION PROJECTIONS

Based on the calculated resource map and the final layout of the wind farm, ISOBARS calculates the expected production for the park, taking into account distinct losses such as wake loss, outages, electrical issues, machine performance, and distinct operative restrictions.

What’s especially novel in this calculation is that the different levels of uncertainty in the estimation of production will become determined, apart from by typical uncertainties, by the casuistry derived from distinct scenarios generated through climate change predictions. This will allow the promoter to have a much clearer idea between which ranks the park’s estimated production will move. In the case of competitive bids, having this information at one’s disposal can be of great strategic value. Moreover, this ends up of great importance for financers who can have distinct awareness to see how viable the return on the debt is, according to the evolution of future cash flow.

It is also possible to generate time series of production under the diverse scenarios that will allow a more accurate calculation of the daily and monthly generation waves, and their application in determining the price captured by the installation. 
Finally, ISOBARS can calculate a park’s production curves (based on velocity and direction at a determined point) for distinct future scenarios.

5.

PRICES CAPTURED

In the determination of cash flows, and therefore profitability of wind projects, it turns out essential to know, apart from the value of the energy generated, how said energy will be paid in the market. It is for this reason that it becomes necessary to know how production varies from hour to hour, and in addition how said production will vary in the future (in a 30-year time frame) when compared to predicted paths of market prices. This will reveal the correlation between the generation series and prices, which will allow estimation of the price captured by the installation. Isobars proposes, with its model based on climate change projections, generating an ensemble of projections of generation series, which will provide a level of projections in capture prices.

6.

LIFE EXTENSION AND REPOWERING

At present, there are many wind farm that have reached or are on the point of reaching the end of their predicted productive lives. From here, there are 3 options for the future of the park: 1) Dismantlement; 2) Life Extension; 3) Repowering. It is in these second two options that the climate change model plays a relevant part. In reference to life extension, the ISOBARS model allows the quantification of the increases and decreases of wind conditions for the distinct climatic projections, which are compared to conditions observed in the past (for operative installations), or to conditions of machine design/certification in the case of new projected parks, where they want to test if the machine will be able to withstand the charges for a longer period of useful life. In this way, aerogenerator factories can be more certain of the length of productive life expected in the studies of sites and mechanical charges. On the other hand, the same concept can be applied to the Repowering of wind farm, in which the most important thing is not to know the site’s previous wind conditions, but a future projection considering all the possible scenarios in a way that allows a more exact evaluation of the viability of Repowering. This is especially notable because old parks used to rely on fixed tariffs, whilst new repowered installations will sell their electricity on the market.

7.

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

Operation and maintenance (O&M) of the park are two activities of utmost importance in the management of the asset because it directly reflects the generated production, principally through outages. ISOBARS has developed a prediction model called Wyn which allows the client to be informed about predictions of the principal meteorological variables when organising preventative and corrective maintenance tasks up to a 10-day time frame. Additionally, Isobars is developing a seasonal prediction model which allows a better anticipation of preventative maintenance, such as a more efficient running of the fleet. On the other hand, Wyn allows the supply of predictions of production for wind farms in the face of approaching daily and intraday markets. Finally, the future strategy of the O&M of the parks can be modified according to the scenarios that result as a consequence of climatic evolution. This directly affects the useful life of the components, and therefore their failure rates, which in turn determines the costs incurred in maintenance. ISOBARS makes these estimations, which can be used to find the most economic option in the market in the face of managing the O&M contract.

8.

DUE DILIGENCE

ISOBARS is involved in services of due diligence and advice both to promoters and financers. It carries out studies of production, reviews of generation technology, and when necessary for operating parks, operative studies and their corresponding assets. The counsel provided considers the inclusion of the effect of climate change in the expected operation of the plants, which allows this effect to be introduced into the financial model, whether it’s by variations in generated production or in the possibility (or lack thereof) of lengthening the operation of the parks.

9.

VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS

It is becoming more and more common to hear that climate change has significant repercussions on the frequency and intensity of various different climatic phenomena, in particular those related to extreme events. Because of this, the prediction estimation of these events can be extremely useful to insurance companies in the face of minimising their risk.
ISOBARS uses prediction models for the frequency of future extreme events, and in particular of hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, tornados, explosive cyclogenesis, and floods, in order to quantify the risk throughout the future life of the wind farm. This can no doubt influence the design of the park itself, as well as the annual insurance premium.