With the shift from fossil and nuclear power to renewable energy, the importance of wind turbines is growing fast. In addition to large off-shore wind parks, local, decentralized energy production plays a key role because it reduces the need for expensive and inefficient power transmission.
However, these smaller wind parks are often built in complex mountainous or hilly terrain. Finding the best location and optimal layout of the wind turbines in these environments is a challenge addressed by several research projects. This research helps to reduce cost and increase reliability and efficiency of wind turbines in complex terrain. For these projects, a test site with full access to the wind turbines and a good scientific infrastructure is needed.
In the project “KonTest”, the optimal location and equipment for such a test field was evaluated. With the project WINSENT (Wind Science and Engineering in Complex Terrain), which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg, this test field will now be built and operated.
The location of the test site behind an escarpment on the rim of the Swabian Alps near the town of Geislingen provides a more realistic testing environment compared to existing test sites in flat terrain. It will be the first wind energy test site in complex terrain in Germany and will serve as a Lighthouse project for Germany and neighbouring countries. The working group for environmental physics of the University of Tübingen will work on the sub area “microclimate” of the WINSENT project, using its MASC (Multiple- purpose airborne sensor carrier) aircraft to provide data on wind and turbulence over the test site. The data produced by the MASC will be used to validate other sources and fill spatial gaps. Measured data will also be used to validate and correct simulations of the wind test site.