W3 wind energy feasibility study

The goal of this project is to determine the feasibility of wind power installations in the Waterloo area. In late 2008, the City of Waterloo, in partnership with the Region of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo, installed two 50-metre tall meteorological towers: one located at RIM Park and the other at the Waterloo Region Emergency Fire Training and Research Centre (WRESTRC).

Meteorogical Towers

A meteorological tower, or met tower, is a type of weather station commonly used in wind power projects that measures the quality of the wind at a potential site. Both met towers in this project are equipped with six anemometers that measure wind speed, two wind vanes that measure wind direction, one barometer that measures air pressure, and one temperature sensor.

Since modern wind turbines can be very tall and have very long blades, it is important to understand the variation of wind speed with respect to height above the ground. By placing the instruments at different points on the tower, the wind speed profile can be curve-fitted and then extrapolated to any height.

Temperature and pressure are also measured in order to calculate the air density, which is a necessary parameter in the calculation of wind turbine power production.

Data loggers at the bottom of each tower read the sensor outputs and record them in 10-minute intervals. The data is then transmitted wirelessly to the University of Waterloo for remote monitoring and storage.

When a sufficient amount of data has been collected, the results will be analyzed by the Wind Energy Group at the University of Waterloo, and the potential value of installing small- or mid-size wind turbines will be assessed.