Alice Springs Future Grid’s Wind Monitoring Study will provide baseline information to inform future wind power opportunities and find out if wind power can complement solar power in Alice Springs.
What data will be collected?
Alice Springs is a Solar City, with wind power not historically considered viable with the technology available at the time.
The study will consider whether improvements in efficiency and costs of wind turbines mean that wind power could be added to the renewable energy mix for our town.
The study will use mobile SODAR equipment to measure wind speed and wind direction at up to 100m above ground level, at two locations in Alice Springs over the course of a year.
What sites will be tested?
• The Future Grid wind monitoring study will measure wind speeds at two locations in Alice Springs.
• Wind power has potential to be a low-cost source of renewable energy.
• Wind power can be generated day and night and may complement our existing solar resource.
• The study will help to inform future wind power opportunities. A wind farm is not currently being proposed.
The equipment will be stationed at the Desert Knowledge Precinct — to provide a comparison with the existing wind monitoring data from that site — and near the Owen Springs Power Station. No wind turbines are being proposed for these locations. Site selection for the monitoring equipment considered a range of criteria to ensure the locations were safe, economically sustainable, and environmentally sound. These included land tenure and topography, wind speed, distance to the grid, Indigenous heritage sites, visual impact, impact on wildlife, and public acceptance.
What is SODAR?
The wind monitoring study is using SODAR (Sonic Detection And Ranging) equipment which works by emitting an audible chirp every few seconds, and then measuring the doppler shift of the returned echo.
The SODAR accurately measures wind speed and direction up to 100m above ground level, making it particularly suitable for assessing the available resource for wind turbine generation. Because the units are trailer mounted and easy to deploy, it is a much more cost-effective than constructing a tower-mounted meteorological station, which is the traditional approach for this kind of assessment.
A financial model, developed with the wind resource data, will provide some insight into the viability of wind power in Alice Springs.
The data will be publicly available on the Future Grid website at the end of the study.
Stay tuned for more community engagement throughout the Wind Monitoring Study.