Site Prospecting

Site Prospecting

Great renewables projects come from great sites. A well-chosen site will reward its owners many times over: through a faster development cycle, improved rates of return and excellent operational performance. A poorly-chosen site, however, will be a sink of investment and resources without any end reward.

Site prospecting is an art with many moving parts so we have designed our approaches to be as smart as possible to balance all the key tradeoffs.  In response to the challenges of wind prospecting Wind Pioneers has developed a completely novel approach to assessing the potential of a wind farm site to add a truly independent opinion during the evaluation process. We characterise perfect sites, then algorithmically scan an area for the sites closest to perfection.

Wind Pioneers’ site-finding software characterises sites according to parameters known to be present in good sites to evaluate a site’s potential. When combined with traditional approaches it creates a more reliable process for finding high-potential sites.

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► What we Offer

  • Clean slate nationwide prospecting studies with unrivalled detail
  • Wind mapping from multiple ensembled, calibrated source maps
  • Site ranking and prioritisation
  • Site screening and red flag analyses
  • Solar and hybrid prospecting studies, including production-pattern compatible mapping for wind-solar projects

► Perfect Wind Farms

An ideal wind farm site will have a number of characteristics from good exposure to prevailing winds, to robust grid connection options and ease of logistics and construction.

Traditional prospecting studies make overly simplified assumptions as to the weighting of criteria, arbitrarily concluding how much wind resource is worth sacrificing for, say, a closer grid connection or flat terrain for construction. We are led by wind farms. We digitised over 100,000 operational wind turbines from markets across the globe to analyse what makes a perfect wind farm?

Our analyses provide us with a recipe for our secret sauce, which can be tailored to a specific market to understand what makes for a perfect wind farm. From there we algorithmically search our area of interest for sites matching those same criteria.

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  • Find better sites. In an increasingly competitive market place for developers, any increase in cost of energy from finding a better site is worth its weight in gold.
  • Find different sites to your competitors.Use of industry standard site finding approaches mean competing developers converge on very similar sites in similar locations, increasing risks associated with securing land and grid connectivity. Wind Pioneers’ completely independent approach is more likely to uncover high potential sites that have not been previously identified.
  • Save costs on unviable sites. Measurement campaigns are expensive and time consuming and every measurement campaign that doesn’t result in a viable wind farm gives a 0% return on investment. Extra vetting of sites ensures on-the-ground costs are spent efficiently

► Unrivaled Depth of Study

Our site prospecting studies offer include consideration of 50 or more different input data sets, giving a richness and detail to the end results that are unmatched.

  • Multiple wind maps
  • Air density map
  • Available ground-based measurements
  • Reanalysis data sets
  • Topography
  • Terrain slope
  • Nine land use classifications
  • Rivers, lakes and reservoirs
  • Airports and Airspace restrictions
  • Country, provincial/state and district borders
  • Economic corridors
  • Special Economic Zones
  • Transmission line maps
  • Substation locations and capacities
  • Flood risk
  • Typhoon risk
  • Earthquake risk
  • Icing maps
  • Existing power plants
  • Dams and hydro-electric plants
  • Solar resource maps (hybrid consideration)
  • Military areas
  • National Parks
  • Heritage Areas
  • Railways
  • Religious Places
  • Roads (multiple classes)
  • Urban areas
  • Villages/Habitations
  • Density of Un-exploded Ordinance
  • Existing and planned wind farms
  • Bio-diversity areas
  • Population Density
  • Port infrastructure

► Validation

Site finding is an inherently difficult process to validate due to the large number of quantitative and qualitative driversthat affect the viability of a wind farm site. To validate its methodology as far as possible Wind Pioneers’ has made an assumption is made that existing wind farms have been built in ideal places, which allows the location of operational wind farms to act as a metric to validate the approach against. This assumption has a number of weaknesses, from the practical issues surrounding wind farm land acquisition and development, to the evolving nature of wind turbine technology which will favour sites of differing characteristics. Nevertheless this assumption is considered robust enough to allow for high level validation.

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The validation process involved the following steps:

The state of Karnataka in India was selected on account of having a wide number of sites across a range of terrain types;

The locations of 1700 operational wind turbines across the state were digitised;

Wind Pioneers’ site scoring methodology was applied across the state; and

The operational wind turbine locations were compared to the highest scoring locations on Wind Pioneers’ site scoring map.

The final results indicated that 86% of the built wind turbine locations occurred in the top 5% of the site scoring map, thereby demonstrating the approach’s ability to pick out high potential sites for wind farms.

We are currently undertaking a global validation exercise, digitising tens of thousands of turbine locations in a range of markets around the world to tweak our scoring algorithm and to understand what are the key ingredients in the best wind farm sites.

► Solar and Hybrid

Our tools are well suited to looking for more than just wind. We have undertaken solar prospecting studies across a range of international markets, and have pioneered an approach to look for suitable wind-solar hybrid sites.

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