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Chapter: Electric Energy Generation and Utilisation and Conservation : Wind Energy

Site Selection Consideration For WECS(Wind Energy Conversion)

1. High annual average wind speed: 2. Availability of anemometry data: 3. Availability of wind V(t) Curve at the proposed site: 4. Wind structure at the proposed site: 5. Altitude of the proposed site: 6. Terrain and its aerodynamic: 7. Local Ecology 8. Distance to road or railways: 9. Nearness of site to local centre/users: 10. Nature of ground: 11. Favourable land cost:


 The power available in the wind increases rapidly with the speed, hence wind energy conversion machines should be located preferable in areas where the winds are strong and persistent. Although daily winds at a given site may be highly variable, the monthly and especially annual average are remarkably constant from year to year.

The major controbution to the wind power available at a given site is actually made by winds with speeds above the average. Nevertheless, the most suitable sites for wind turbines would be found in areas where the annual average wind speeds are known to be moderately high or high.

The site choice for a single or a spatial array of WECS is an important matter when wind electrics is looked at from the systemspoint of view of aeroturbine generators feeding power into a convertional electric grid.

If the WECS sites are wrongly or poorly chosen the net wind electrics generated energy per year may be sub optimal with resulting high capital cost for the WECS apparatus, high costs for wind generated electric energy, and low Returns on Investment. Even if the WECS is to be a small generator not tied to the electric grid, the sitting must be carefully chosen if inordinately long break even times are to be avoided. Technical, Economic, Evironmental, Social and Other actors are examined before a decision is made to erect a generating plant on a specific site.

Some of the main site selection consideration are given below:


1.    High annual average wind speed:

2.    Availability of anemometry data:

3.    Availability of wind V(t) Curve at the proposed site:

4.    Wind structure at the proposed site:

5.    Altitude of the proposed site:

6.    Terrain and its aerodynamic:

7.    Local Ecology

8.    Distance to road or railways:

9.    Nearness of site to local centre/users:

10.  Nature of ground:

11.  Favourable land cost:


1.           High annual average wind speed:


The speed generated by the wind mill depends on cubic values of velocity of wind, the small increases in velocity markedly affect the power in the wind. For example, Doubling the velocity, increases power by a factor of 8. It is obviously desirable to select a site for WECS with high wind velocity. Thus a high average wind velocity is the principle fundamental parameter of concern in initially appraising WESCS site. For more detailed estimate value, one would like to have the average of the velocity cubed.

2.           Availability of anemometry data:

It is another improvement sitting factor. The aenometry data should be available over some time period at the precise spot where any proposed WECS is to be built and that this should be accomplished before a sitting decision is made.

3.           Availability of wind V(t) Curve at the proposed site:

This important curve determines the maximum energy in the wind and hence is the principal initially controlling factor in predicting the electrical output and hence revenue return o the WECS machines.

It is desirable to have average wind speed ‘V’ such that V>=12-16 km/hr (3.5 – 4.5 m/sec) which is about the lower limit at which present large scale WECS generators ‘cut in’ i.e., start turning. The V(t) Curve also determines the reliability of the delivered WECS generator power, for if the V(t) curve goes to zero there be no generated power during that time.

If there are long periods of calm the WECS reliability will be lower than if the calm periods are short. In making such realiability estimates it is desirable to have measured V(t) Curve over about a 5 year period for the highest confidence level in the reliability estimate.

4.           Wind structure at the proposed site:

The ideal case for the WECS would be a site such that the V(t) Curve was flat, i.e., a smooth steady wind that blows all the time; but a typical site is always less than ideal. Wind specially near the ground is turbulent and gusty, and changes rapidly in direction and in velocity. This depature from homogeneous flow is collectively referred to as “the structure of the wind”.

5.           Altitude of the proposed site:

It affects the air density and thus the power in the wind and hence the useful WECS electric power output. Also, as is well known, the wind tend to have higher velocities at higher altitudes. One must be carefully to distinguish altitude from height above ground. They are not the same except for a sea level WECS site.

6.           Terrain and its aerodynamic:

One should know about terrain of the site to be chosen. If the WECS is to be placed near the top but not on the top of a not too blunt hill facing the prevailing wind, then it may be possible to obtain a ‘speed-up’ of the wind velocity over what it would otherwise be. Also the wind here may not flow horizontal making it necessary to tip the axis of the rotor so that the aeroturbine is always perpendicular to the actual wind flow.

It may be possible to make use of hills or mountains which channel the prevailing wind into a pass region, thereby obtaining higher wind power.

7.           Local Ecology

If the surface is base rock it may mean lower hub height hence lower structure cost. If trees or grass or vegetation are present, all of which tend to destructure the wind, the higher hub heights will be needed resulting in larges system costs that the bare ground case.

8.           Distance to road or railways:

This is another factor the system engineer must consider for heavy machinery, structure, materials, blades and other apparatus will have to be moved into any choosen WECS site.

9.           Nearness of site to local centre/users:

This obvious criterion minimizes transmission line length and hence losses and cost. After applying all the previous string criteria, hopefully as one narrows the proposed WECS sites to one or two they would be relatively near to the user of the generated electric energy.

10.       Nature of ground:

Ground condition should be such that the foundation for a WECS are secured. Ground surface should be stable. Erosion problem should not be there, as it could possibly later wash out the foundation of a WECS, destroying the whole system.

11.       Favourable land cost:

Land cost should be favourable as this along with other siting costs, enters into the total WECS system cost.

12. Other conditions such as icing problem, salt spray or blowing dust should not present at the site, as they may affect aeroturbine blades or environmental is generally adverse to machinery and electrical apparatus.

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