Solar & wind resource measurement campaign for the Pacific Power Association: a challenging mission!

3E and GEOSun were commissioned by the Pacific Power Association (PPA) to conduct ground-based meteorological measurements for the Pacific Islands region. The solar and wind measurement campaigns had two primary objectives: firstly, to gather the necessary data for future yield assessment of renewable energy projects in high-priority locations. Secondly, to improve and validate the resource assessment models used in the Global Wind Atlas & Global Solar Atlas, thereby improving mapping outputs and time series data for the countries in the region.
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Pacific Islands
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The winning bid: complementary partners

The Pacific Power Association is an inter-governmental agency aiming to foster cooperation between electricity utilities, the private sector and funding institutions, to develop the power sectorin the Pacific Islands Countries.

Following a grant fund allocated by the World Bank (ESMAP),the Pacific Power Association launched a tender call for consulting services to perform solar and wind resource measurement campaigns in the Pacific Islands. 3E formed a consortium with GeoSUN Africa and Elemental Group, and together we secured the winning bid.

The mission: chasing sunshine and catching wind

As part of the assignment, the following tasks were completed:

• Selection of the measurement sites, and arrangement for site access with local stakeholders;

• Provisioning, commissioning and decommissioning of the measuring equipment (8 solar and 5 LiDAR stations);

• Calibration, maintenance and security of the equipment;

• Measurement campaigns spanning from 6 to 24 months of data;

• Feasibility studies for analysing the wind potential;

• Enhancement of publicly available data resources, by sharing the collected data on the Energydata website, Global Solar Atlas and the Global Wind Atlas.

The technology: LiDARs vs. traditional met masts

For this wind measurement campaign, our team and our client opted for LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) devices instead of conventional met masts.

LiDARs are remote sensing devices using optical sensing techniques to measure wind speed and wind direction. This technology is able to produce detailed and dependable measurements at high and various elevations.

Considering (i) the average wind turbine hub height is increasing, (ii) the costs of met masts increase with height, and (iii) the possibility to take away vertical extrapolation uncertainties with LiDAR systems, the latter are more and more replacing or complementing traditional measurement met masts. With their ability to supply data up to 300 meter above ground level, LiDAR systems are today a reliable data source for bankable wind measurement campaigns and bankable yield assessments.

Other advantages lie in their small size, cost-effectiveness and permit-free installation. Hence, LiDAR devices were the ideal choice for a project like this one, spanning more than 10 countries, each with different custom requirements, land lease procedures and permit legislations.

Learn more about LiDAR technology in our article “Where do LiDAR’s come into play?” or at our dedicated LiDAR measurement campaign webpage.

The challenges: a little spice to the project

Of course, the above mission wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration with several local partners, including Elemental Group. Local staff and utility companies played a crucial role in the operations and maintenance of the equipment. Their invaluable support allowed for quick onsite intervention, also during unforeseen events, such as the volcanic eruption on the Tonga island and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Trust the experts!

Providing long-term yield assessment and conducting measurement campaigns have been at the chore of our business for over two decades. Our consultancy team's extensive experience and track record ensure trustworthy and reliable services for any measurement campaign and feasibility study.

--> More information about our LiDAR measurement campaign service <--

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