An iPhone app that gives you a free wind report
For those interested in doing wind projects we have recently come across a great new 'app' for your iPhone (for those with Android Smart Phones, not sure you're supported yet I'm afraid!). It's also free which is pretty amazing given the information it provides.
One of the critical bits of information that anyone needs before they get too serious about a wind project is an accurate indication of their average wind speed at the hub height of their turbine. It is incredible how many people currently rely on the free NOABL data for this. Most people in the industry believe NOABL is highly opimistic and should never be relied upon. At best it is an indication - at worst it is the critical bit of information upon which many are basing decisions worth £'000s.
There are are other sources of wind data - as with many things in this world, better things cost money. One of these sources is a Spanish wind modelling company calledVortex and they produce wind estimates which, as far as we can see, are considered highly by wind industry specialists.
BUT, before you despair about paying for a local wind report, the good people at Cube Engineering in Germany have licensed the Vortex modelled wind data to produce this free iPhone app called Win(d)Scout. So, as far as we're concerned, by far the most useful thing about this app is that you can navigate using a Google map to the proposed location of your turbine (anywhere in the UK and beyond), enter a hub height, and it will give you an estimate of your average wind speed and a wind rose indicating prevailing wind direction. It tells you a whole bunch more information too like estimated kWh output each year, amount of carbon offset etc. most of which is specific to a model of turbine which you may not have selected yet. But you can ignore all that.
Of course, Cube Engineering do caveat the data they provide to ensure you don't feel too confident in the results:
The Win(d)Scout App in this version is for informational and non-commercial use only, providing general wind conditions at a selected site (speed, power and direction) and the related output of possible wind turbines installed at this location.
All results and estimations of this tool are based on simplified models, presumptions and algorithms for rough calculations only. EOL energie-online.de GmbH and the author of the data on which these calculations are based assume no liability for results. The data sources used are not appropriate for precise calculation of wind conditions.
We tested at a number of sites where we've got real and modelled data from other sources and we'd certainly use this as a check alongside a NOABL figure (reduced by 10%) and, potentially, modelled data from the UK Met Office.
There is more about this app (including details and benefits of the chargeable upgrade to the 'Pro' version) and demo screenshots at:
This post originally appeared on the GreenEnergyNet Blog