Large measuring campaign to lower the cost of wind energy

Thursday November 28, 2013 11:04

How can LiDAR measuring technology make wind energy more affordable? That is one of the questions ECN aims to answer during an extensive measuring campaign at its wind turbine test site in Wieringermeer. ECN is carrying out the campaign between January 2013 and March 2014 together with different partners. LiDAR technology measures wind turbulence across large distances. The technology can possibly be used instead of expensive, high wind masts. Moreover, LiDAR enables turbines to anticipate changes in wind speed, instead of just responding to these changes.

A horizontally measuring LiDAR.

Vertical and horizontal

LiDARs use laser beams to measure wind speed at distances ranging from tens of metres to several kilometres, depending on the type and system. The technology has been developed for several years now, and it is becoming increasingly reliable. Vertically measuring LiDARS measure wind speed from the ground. Horizontally measuring LiDARS are for example attached onto the nacelle of a wind turbine and are thus able to measure the speed of the approaching wind as well as the air flows caused by the turbine itself.


LiDAR technology can contribute to cost reductions for wind energy, as a supplement or alternative to existing measuring technology. LiDAR technology can be used to:

  • determine the available wind potential,
  • optimally arrange the settings of a wind turbine,
  • efficiently validate the performance of a wind turbine,
  • decrease the load of wind turbines in wind farms.


ECN aims to explore the application of LiDARS and compare measuring results with the results of existing technology. The results of vertical LiDARS are thus compared to those of traditional measuring masts. The latter are more expensive and require a construction permit. LiDARS can also play a role in validating and improving turbine performances. ECN will use the results of the measuring campaign to improve its services in these areas.


A different goal of the measuring campaign is to map the aerodynamics caused by the turbines. This so-called wake effect has a major impact on the capacity and the wear and tear of the surrounding wind turbines. ECN is conducting the measuring at the ECN test site together with various partners such as NORCOWE, Avent Lidar Technology, TU Delft, XEMC Darwind and DTU. The knowledge that result from the measuring campaign will be used by ECN to improve its services in the field of wind farm design.

Are you interested in the opportunities of LiDAR technology for optimising wind turbines, certification and wind farm design? ECN’s Jan Willem Wagenaar will gladly discuss opportunities with you. Give him a call at +31 88 515 4909.

Read more about the techniques and services of ECN in the development of wind farms.

Category: November, Wind Energy