Estimating wind power generation capacity in Zimbabwe using vertical wind profile extrapolation techniques: A case study

Keywords: renewable energy; wind energy; power estimation, Hellman law

Abstract

Only 40% of Zimbabwe’s population has access to electricity. The greater proportion of the power is generated from thermal stations, with some from hydro and solar energy sources. However, there is little investment in the use of wind for electricity generation except for small installations in the Eastern Highlands, as Zimbabwe generally has wind speeds which are too low to be utilised for electricity generation. This paper presents the use of vertical wind profile extrapolation methods to determine the potential of generating electricity from wind at different hub heights in Zimbabwe, using the Hellman and exponential laws to estimate wind speeds. The estimated wind speeds are used to determine the potential of generating electricity from wind. Mangwe district in Matabeleland South province of Zimbabwe was used as a test site. Online weather datasets were used to estimate the wind speeds. The investigation shows that a 2.5kW wind turbine installation in Mangwe can generate more than 3MWh of energy per annum at hub heights above 40m, which is enough to supply power to a typical Zimbabwean rural village. This result will encourage investment in the use of wind to generate electricity in Zimbabwe.

Highlights
  • Wind power utilisation is low in Zimbabwe.
  • Vertical wind profile is estimated using extrapolation methods.
  • Online weather data for soil and water analysis tool was used.
  • Electricity can viably be generated from wind in Zimbabwe.

Author Biographies

L. Gunda, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabw

Lecturer

E. Chikuni, Botho University, Gaborone, Botswana

Professor

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Published
2021-02-22