Contributed by Matt Cramer, ArcVera Renewables

Running power performance tests (PPTs) on operational assets is a highly complex task that requires a significant amount of experience. 

When should I carry out power performance tests?

Power performance testing is carried out to determine the economic value of a wind project and to ensure that projects are performing to expectations. Performance testing allows investors to identify project underperformance, ensure that projects are generating the expected return on investment, and manage investment risk.

By plotting the power generated against the wind speed, the power curve compares actual on-site results to the warranted power curve in order to identify any deviations or anomalies, which are then analyzed to pinpoint the root cause. The OEM will often recommend actions for improving performance, such as adding vortex generators, adjusting control parameters, or increasing the rated power to maximize the annual energy production and potential revenue of a wind farm.

Beyond turbine performance verification, power performance testing is also conducted for regulatory compliance and warranty verification. Performance testing is warranted for new turbine models or models with inconsistent PPT results. PPTs are also recommended for projects in simple terrain and are a must-do in certain site conditions, such as complex terrain, high elevation, low-temperature, and extreme precipitation, that have no proven performance for the selected wind turbine generator (WTG) model. Terrain deviations in wind projects can have significant impacts on the turbine performance over the project lifetime.

The effects of wakes, terrain-induced turbulence, up flow, veer, and shear due to the proximity of turbines to terrain features and to each other, as well as atmospheric conditions, all tend to have a negative impact on turbine performance. Newer methods for power performance testing can account for many of these conditions, as well as reduce the cost of testing, by utilizing remote sensing to

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