Using LIDAR for wind profiling
LIDARS burst into wind market after they evolved from those truck size scientific prototypes to something portable, reasonable power demanding, robust and automatic like off the shelf LIDAR available in the market nowadays. After working with SODAR we thought we would not be using anything more sophisticated, but we were wrong. At that time probably only a couple of units of this were in Spain, and our client wanted us to unwrapped it and check its performance compared with classical anemometer towers. Having some advantages compared to SODARS, and some disadvantages too, if it worked as espected, for sure there would be a lot of work out there for them. LIDAR
The objective of the project was (first read the manual) to install, operate in field a Zephir LIDAR and compare with a close anemometer tower in order to evaluate if this could be a stand alone technique for wind profiling and to know its strengths and weaknesses. After this process, we would train our clients personnel to be able to operate the new tool and conduct projects.
We chose an area with moderate terrain complexity, near a wind farm with a 80m anemometer tower. We sited the LIDAR at upwind of the wind farm and parallel to the tower and stayed there for a couple of years. Communications were solved by the LIDARS own GPRS system and everything was connected to a turbine power after a UPS with an autonomy of some hours. We only had to worry on data downloading, firmware updates since the system was terribly new and data analysis in order to understand the data.
We and our client learn enough about this system during this time. It was quite reliable and data gaps are scarce, mainly due to power loss. We had time and enough information to write a modest publication and s presentation at EGU. This system traveled some other places afterwards and with some firmware updates since then, the system should be still running around the planet.