Improving accuracy of wind resource assessment through feedback loops of operational performance data: A South African case study

Keywords: operational yield, validation, benchmarking, renewable energy, wind farms

Abstract

This study addresses two key objectives using operational performance data from most of the Round 1 wind farms connected to the grid in South Africa: benchmarking of wind farm performance and validation of the pre-construction energy yield assessments. These wind farms were found to perform in line with internationally reported levels of wind farm availability, with a mean energy-based availability of 97.8% during the first two years of operation. The pre-construction yield assessments used for financing in 2012 were found to over-predict project yield (P50) by 4.9%. This was consistent with other validation studies for Europe and North America. It was also noted that all projects exceed the pre-construction P90 estimate. The reasons for this discrepancy were identified, with the largest cause of error being wind flow and wake-modelling errors. Following a reassessment using up to date methodologies from 2018, the mean bias in pre-construction predictions was 1.4%.

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