The AIRE project is dedicated to the development of innovative software models incorporating novel technologies. These models will factor in long-term wind turbine operations and account for extreme weather conditions (in diverse terrains and altitudes). AIRE is gathering valuable data from four experimental sites and four commercial wind farms. This is a blog series where all the eight sites, that are part of the AIRE project, will be presented. Starting, there is ALAIZ, the experimental site managed by the project coordinator CENER.
Alaiz Experimental Wind Farm
CENER’s experimental wind farm is located in the Alaiz Mountain, a high-altitude area with complex terrain close to Pamplona in northern Spain. The focus area is about 30×30 km, and it is suitable for the study of high-resolution mesoscale-to-microscale models, which also share terrain and thermal stratification.
Test site characteristics
The experimental wind farm is composed by four 118 m tall met masts, situated north of the six positions, where multi-megawatt wind turbines are installed for experimental purposes. At the met mast, wind speed and wind directions are measured at five levels (118 m, 102 m, 90 m, 78 m, and 40 m) with wind vanes and cup anemometers, and with sonic anemometers at 118m, 78m and 40m meters. Additionally, temperature and humidity is measured in five levels (113 m, 97 m, 81 m, 38 m, and 2 m).
The Alaiz Mountain will also be the setting of one of AIRE´s experimental campaigns. The team will gather wind and precipitation information about a complex terrain and high-altitude site (1,000 m) during a one-year period. Not to mention, Alaiz is a very foggy and rainy area during the winter period, exhibiting strong snow events.
The AIRE equipment is already installed in Alaiz. Under AIRE´s scope, there is a micro-rain radar (MRR-Pro), a disdrometer, and a pluviometer to support the characterizations of precipitation. In addition, auxiliary equipment such as horizontal and vertical cup anemometers, wind vanes, thermohydrometer, barometers, rain detectors and pyranometers will provide data that support the precipitation measurements. In a second phase of the data collection campaign, a LiDAR will be installed to support wind inflow data in such a complex terrain site.
The micro-rain radar is a very specific piece of equipment that can measure rain up to 6 km above the radar. In Alaiz’s experimental campaign, the MRR is set to obtain high resolution data from 75 m to 400 m. An MRR is a unique meteorological radar profiler for Doppler spectra of hydrometeors in height ranges from 15 m to 6,000 m. High resolution in time and height enables the MRR to monitor the genesis of frozen hydrometeors, the melting zone (bright band) and the formation of rain drops. Insightful information is already obtained using the MRR, this information will be published in the near future.
Ultimately, AIRE´s experimental data will be used as input to create updated models and tools that could be used by the industry to optimize wind turbine and wind farm designs. Once the experimental campaigns are finished and the data post is processed and standardized, it will be published in AIRE’s open access knowledge hub.
This project is looking forward to tackle environmental challenges while developing important research and data collection work via technology. Alaiz continues to innovate and apply all best practices, promoting strong team capacity and environmental commitment.