By Gil Lizcano.
I am on my flight back from the US West Coast to the West Coast of Europe. The lunch is over (got pasta duo), I have six hours ahead, and below me, there must be the remote land of the Canadian Grand Nord. Before trying to get some poor aeroplane sleep, I will note some scattered non-very meditative thoughts and impressions about what brought me so far away.
Pep, David and I just spent a few days in Seattle to attend the AWEA WRA Workshop. As you know, there are two main WRA events organised by the AWEA and Wind Europe, respectively. How do they compare?
AWEA and Wind Europe workshops are similar events in general but with differences in the close distances. The USA workshop has a stronger focus on understanding where we are heading, while in Europe, the focus tends to be more on where we come from. On the other hand, in America, the monetizing value of m/s is much more evident, while in Europe, there is a more pure wind profile discussion. Another important difference is the more visible role of academia and publicly funded initiatives in Europe.
The session which got more interest at the Seattle workshop, according to the poll (and my humble opinion), was the one dedicated to Climate Change (CC). This is somehow paradoxical as the live polls also showed that most of the attendees consider CC to have a not obvious impact on the future wind resource, and they tended not explicitly estimate uncertainty due to climate change (just keep calm and carry on). One can interpret this in many different ways. My interpretation is that we, as a community, are on the shoreline of the climate data pool (or ocean), and we need to dare to swim to start questioning and answering more of these CC things with our perspective. Probably, we should not target changes in the wind solely but other aspects that control the demand for energy, don’t you think? Actually, what do you think?
AWEA workshops use to start with a panel of experts to discuss usual suspects’ P50 bias. This edition had a special Monthy Python-inspired animation (credits to Matt). The animation story had a happy end with a positive message about our wind resource collective intelligence resilience to improve bias even with the wind turbines becoming bigger and more complex. An attractive takeover from the discussion is that P50 backcast analyses are, by definition, delayed by a few years. Hence, we are always late assessing our current WRA state of the art. This is something to retain.
Power time series is becoming another recurrent AWEA topic – this time with strong European accents among the speakers – This session is strongly motivated by the volatile price of energy – did you know that kWh could rise up to 4000 US$ at peak periods in Texas?!!- Carl showed this and other facts in his slides. On a more practical level, the session showed different sides of the power time series frame: from pure windfarm production hindcast modelling using mesoscale downscaling and a lot of assumption (my presentation) to inferring wake losses, understanding curtailments to build more power and use Marvel stochastic methods to derisk portfolios. Wiebke, anything else?
About flow modelling and observations: note that the USA is the land for the XXL windfarms, which probably was one important motivation to extend mesoscale technology to the microsite level. In Europe, CFD and mesoscale have had a more diverse and complex coexistence. On the other hand, Europe was the remote sensing device technology theatre, but now it seems that America is getting there, isn’t it, Matt?
From a Vortex-centric perspective, WRF LES was present in different slides during the workshop. Specially interesting is the work done by Nordex using high-resolution WRF LES time series and lidars to calibrate turbulence. Good to see that time series, WRF, and LES are picking up as a fitted solution for the industry – and happy to see the value of the work done by my colleague Alex to porting WRF LES to the real world.
I was expecting more hype and attention to offshore wind resource assessment in Seattle. Not much was said. Any ideas why?
Just a few notes to finish: thanks to Patrick, Chris and Kisha for all the work done and all the folks (special mention to Scott) who gave us the tips to make this journey a bigger experience about Seattle. I liked the WRISE happy hour with the wind people playing their guitars. And three, a wish: Kisha, could you do your magic and make the next event happen in Portland?