Germany and Italy accused of 'overestimating' wind speeds

EUROPE: The German and Italian wind sectors are being overoptimistic in their wind-speed forecasts, according to a number of wind-industry figures.

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Tom Murley, Head of Renewables at HG, told a Wind Prospect conference in London that wind forecasting for many onshore projects worldwide has been inaccurate.

He said: "In terms of the good, the bad and the ugly wind projects from a moneymaking point of view, many in Germany and Italy have been bad.

"There has been persistent overestimation of wind speeds in Germany and Italy. Developers and turbine manufacturers want to record high wind speeds to get projects off the ground. But now investors are wising up."

Paul Stangroom, Wind Resource Manager at consultant Wind Prospect, added that wind measurement in the pre-construction phase needed to be more rigourous.

"The usual approach of a single met mast at a proposed wind farm site may not be enough" he said. "Yet one mast on site is common, and mast heights are often limited". He recommended multiple masts and the use of Lidor and Sodar portable wind measurement units to supplement masts.

Murley said investors wanted to see more, higher and longer wind measurements adopted pre-construction.

He added that the industry needed to attract "vast amounts of capital" - £800 billion a year globally to 2030 – "but this isn’t happening at the moment, even though wind energy is protected from the economic cycle."

Murley also said that regulatory changes in Spain had had done much damage to the investment climate in the industry.

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