Reviewing accuracy & reproducibility of large-scale wind resource assessments


Link to the paper.


Tristan Pelser, Jann Michael Weinand, Patrick Kuckertz, Russell McKenna, Jochen Linssen, Detlef Stolten

Institute of Energy and Climate Research – Techno-economic Systems Analysis (IEK-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
Chair for Fuel Cells, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen 5026, Germany
Chair of Energy Systems Analysis, Institute of Energy and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland

Abstract: The accurate quantification and assessment of available renewable energy resources has emerged as a research topic with high relevance to policymakers and industry. Motivated by the need for a contemporary review on the methodologies and practices prevalent in wind resource assessments, we employ a systematic analysis of 195 articles that describe large-scale wind assessments. Our review reveals significant heterogeneity in global and continental-scale potentials and geographical bias of research towards the Northern Hemisphere, despite electrification needs in regions like Africa and Latin America. A fraction of the literature attempts to explicitly include social and political barriers to wind power development, thereby defining ‘feasible’ potentials. We delve into advancements in this domain, focusing on innovative methodologies that encapsulate the viewpoints of subject experts and stakeholders in the assessment process. Our analysis underscores pressing challenges relating to data sharing and scientific reproducibility, with our findings revealing a mere 10 % of studies that offer openly available data for download. This highlights a pervasive insufficiency in the reproducibility of wind assessments. Additionally, we tackle notable hurdles concerning wind data and meteorological characterization, including an over-reliance on single-source wind data and a deficit in adequately characterizing temporal wind variability. Relatedly, we uncover a highly heterogenous approach to turbine siting and characterizing wake-related losses. These methods are frequently simplistic, potentially leading to an overestimation of wind potentials by assuming an overly optimistic capacity density. In each of these domains, we discuss the state of the art for modern wind resource assessments, propose best practices, and pinpoint crucial areas warranting future research.