One Lidar, supporting wind developments from Poland to South Africa.
In 2010 the ZephIR 300 wind Lidar entered the wind energy industry, its predecessor being the original wind Lidar. Described as “easy to use, while also rugged to ensure its longevity in the field” this is a story about one Lidar, #334, that thirteen years on is testament to this.
In 2012, independent renewable energy developer Akuo purchased a ZephIR 300 wind Lidar (referred to as Lidar #334). With more than 1.7 GW under operation and construction in over twenty countries, Akuo had ambitious plans for developing onshore wind energy projects. To accelerate their development plans, the company purchased a wind Lidar to help with wind resource assessment campaigns.
Lidar #334 was initially deployed in Poland, supporting wind measurement campaigns across six potential onshore wind farm sites between 2012 and 2014, before moving to France to aid further onshore development opportunities. During these deployments, #334 was providing standalone, bankable wind resource assessments on the proposed wind farm sites across Europe. In the following years, Lidar #334 spread its wings and continued operation at sites in Poland, Serbia and more recently Morrocco and South Africa. Over the course of a decade in operation, #334 has operated in more than 8 countries proving itself to be the rugged, flexible measurement tool Akuo had hoped for.
The 300 series Lidar from ZX is often described as the ‘everyday’ Lidar that simply goes everywhere. Throughout its 10-year lifetime Lidar #334 has operated in a wide range of conditions and terrains. From the crisp, cold, clear air of Serbia where winters can be very harsh, with temperatures quickly plummeting to freezing, and regularly below that level, to Morocco where weather is more typical of a four-season climate – very warm, dry summers in the summer with average temperatures of 40° C, with a wetter winter including snowy conditions. Yet #334 has not been subject to any country-specific alterations – instead, it is the same one Lidar for all climates that has allowed it to be truly autonomous.
During its operational lifetime, the Lidar was frequently validated at pre- and post-campaign intervals against tall met masts according to IEC standards. Not only ‘available’, #334 was shown to continually be accurate in all independent tests allowing data to be used within formal bankable energy assessments made by Akuo. In addition to any independent validations, Akuo ensured the #334 had all available upgrades and enhancements available from ZX and repeated the Factory Acceptance Tests to prove a clear audit trail and ensure the health of this important wind measurement tool – as would be done with any cup anemometer.
The high-quality datasets collected from the Lidar measurements have so far helped contribute to over 195MW of operational onshore wind farms across seven Akuo developed sites. This includes 132 MW in Poland (Gniew wind farm – 22MW, Wielowies wind farm – 66MW and EP44 wind farm -44MW). With a further 21 MW at Gatinais II in France and 42MW at Ogorje wind farm in Split, Croatia.
Gamze Yilmaz, Wind Technology Project Manager at Akuo commented: “We have been delighted with the performance of our Lidar, helping us accelerate our wind farm development plans. The durability, flexibility and ease of use has allowed us to deploy this Lidar in eight countries. Throughout its operation, the Lidar has provided us with first class, bankable data, allowing us to progress sites into successful operational sites. We are so satisfied with the product and support from ZX Lidars; we have just purchased an additional Lidar to support our growing demand for onshore renewable energy projects”.
Life doesn’t end there for #334. In September 2023 Akuo’s veteran Lidar was deployed by ZX Trusted Service Provider FCT Renewables in South Africa to begin yet another wind resource campaign for the company’s development activities in the region.