Wind farm projects present a multi-dimensional challenge to designers. There are many factors that can determine optimal wind farm location, including distance from the electrical grid, local meteorological conditions, environmental concerns, geomorphology and local obstruction dynamics. As a general rule for wind farm location, wind power potential is the cube of wind speed, meaning that power outputs will vary greatly with small differences in wind speeds. Thus, the success of wind farm projects depends on precise turbine placement because meters can mean megawatts. Carrying out a detailed wind farm location study using airborne LiDAR and digital imagery can help to optimize turbine placement and provide answers to other design challenges.
Terra has provided key support on several major on and offshore wind farm projects in North and South America. Airborne LiDAR provides 3D georeferenced input data to simulate the dynamics of obstructions that may have an effect on local turbulence such as trees, buildings, and fences. In addition to wind modeling support, airborne LiDAR is used to establish optimal turbine tower elevation, turbine placement, slope studies, visualizations, electrical transmission connection and transportation access. Further value of a detailed up-front survey is the benefit from use of the data for follow-on development and approval processes such as infrastructure planning as well as environmental impact assessments and permit applications.