Science Daily reported that researchers have created an interactive web tool to estimate or measure the amount of energy that could be generated by solar or wind farms at any location.
The new tool called “Renewables.ninja”, aims to make the task of predicting renewable output easier for industry experts and academics.
The developers/creators from Imperial College London and ETH Zurich, have already used the tool to estimate current Europe-wide solar and wind output and companies such as the German electrical supplier RWE are using the new tool to test their own models and their output.
Dr. Iain Staffell from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial and Dr. Stefan Pfenninger of ETH Zurich, have used the tool to estimate the productivity of all wind farms planned or under construction in Europe for the next 2 decades, their results were published in the journal “Energy”.
They found that European wind farms currently have an average capacity factor of around 24%, which means that they produce around ¼ of the energy that they could if the wind blew solidly all day every day.
This number is a factor of how much wind is available to each turbine. The study also found that because new farms are being built using taller turbines placed further out in the sea where wind speeds are higher, the average capacity factor for Europe should rise by nearly 1/3 to around 31%.
This would give 3 times as much energy to be produced by wind power in Europe compared to today, not only because there are more farms, but because the said farms can take advantage of better wind conditions.
Featured Image Credit: Sheila Sund