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New Digital Tool Will Estimate Solar or Wind Energy Potential

28 Sep 11:00 by Steve Walia

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A new digital tool has been created that will allow industry users and academics to more accurately predict the renewable energy output of solar or wind farms, regardless of their location.

Called Renewables.njnja, the new tool has been created by a team from ETH Zurich and Imperial Collect London, and it has already been used to successfully estimate the amount of green energy output currently being produced across Europe by wind and solar energy technologies.

Already big firms in the green power space such as RWE, the German electricity supplier, are using it to help assure their own testing models.

The developers aimed to build a highly usable digital tool that could be accessed by users online. In its testing phase, it found that Europe's existing average capacity factor for wind farms stood at around 24pc. This means that they are producing only a quarter of the total power that they could produce with a steady continuous flow of wind every day all day. 

The figure represents the amount of wind that is available for each turbine. The study showed that because taller turbines are being incorporated into new wind farms and being placed further away from where higher wind speeds are found, the expected total capacity factor across Europe is set to increase to c. 31pc.

In effect, this would mean that the amount of wind energy being produced in Europe compared to now could increase by threefold.

Renewables.ninja utilises three decades of modelled and observed weather information that has been gathered from sources such as NASA. Already it allows key questions to be answered about the future infrastructure requirements for green energy across the EU and gives the industry a chance to plan for the future.