Wind Monitoring Study

Alice Springs Future Grid’s Wind Mon­i­tor­ing Study pro­vides base­line infor­ma­tion to inform future wind pow­er oppor­tu­ni­ties. It estab­lish­es how wind pow­er can com­ple­ment solar pow­er in Alice Springs.

What data was collected?

Alice Springs is a Solar City, with wind pow­er not his­tor­i­cal­ly con­sid­ered viable with the tech­nol­o­gy avail­able at the time. 

The study con­sid­ered 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 used 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 were tested?

Quick facts:

• The Future Grid wind mon­i­tor­ing study mea­sured wind speeds at two loca­tions in Alice Springs.
• Wind pow­er was con­sid­ered to have poten­tial to be a low-cost source of renew­able ener­gy.
• Wind pow­er can be gen­er­at­ed day and night yet only com­ple­ments our exist­ing solar resource in cer­tain cir­cum­stances.
• 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 were used 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 used SODAR (Son­ic Detec­tion And Rang­ing) equip­ment which works by emit­ting an audi­ble chirp every few sec­onds, and then mea­sures 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, pro­vides some insight into the via­bil­i­ty of wind pow­er in Alice Springs.

The Wind Study is now avail­able on the ARE­NA Web­site.