The invention of wind energy happened thousands of years ago. In ancient times, wind power was harnessed to travel by boat, grind grain or extract water from wells.
Today, wind energy is already a fundamental source of electricity generation. In fact, in some parts of the world it has already become the main source of energy, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Best of all, it is an abundant, sustainable and relatively inexpensive source.
Much has changed since the first large wind turbines were developed and energy began to be produced from wind. How do you assess whether an area is good for wind energy production? Where are wind farms installed? How is wind measured?
Wind measurement towers and their importance in renewable energy
A wind measurement tower, also known as an anemometry tower or meteorological evaluation tower (MET), is a structure that is installed to collect wind data. In particular, they are useful for measuring wind speed and direction in certain areas.
They are essential in the wind energy sector as they provide crucial information to be able to assess the potential of a site. It is a step prior to the installation of wind turbines and is essential to ensure an efficient wind farm design.
We are talking about tall structures that can vary in height according to the requirements of each project. These towers are equipped with anemometers and wind vanes at different heights to measure wind direction and speed.
Other measuring instruments, such as barometers or thermometers, can also be installed on the towers. In this way, additional atmospheric data can be collected on the same tower.
The role of wind power in renewable energy
Wind energy plays a key role in the field of renewable energy. What are the reasons why wind energy is so important?
- Sustainable and abundant source of clean energy. The energy we obtain from wind is clean and non-polluting, both during the generation process and when we use it. Wind is an abundant and available source of energy in many parts of the world, both onshore and offshore.
- Renewable green energy. Wind is an inexhaustible source and, unlike fossil fuels, wind energy is 100% renewable. It is unlimited and can be produced continuously over the long term.
- Resource savings and employment generation. Once the wind turbines have been installed, the maintenance and operating costs for wind energy are relatively low. There are no external factors affecting the price of wind energy, so it tends to remain stable. It is also an industry that drives economic development and generates employment and new opportunities.
- Promotes energy security and diversity. Wind energy is a clear alternative to fossil fuel power generation. This reduces dependence on non-renewable energy sources and promotes energy security. In other words, it guarantees the availability of a stable supply of energy at affordable prices.
What are measuring towers?
As we told you before, a wind measuring tower or anemometry tower fulfills vital functions for the generation of renewable energy.
Without a correct measurement, we would not know which are the most profitable areas for the installation of wind turbines or windmills. Wind measurement towers provide data on wind strength and direction, thus helping us to decipher where to install wind power generators.
You can continue reading about wind measuring towers and discover all their benefits in this other article of our blog.
Considerations when installing wind measuring towers
In the same way that a study is carried out prior to the construction of a wind farm, it is also advisable to take into account certain considerations before installing wind measurement towers.
- Location and height of the tower. The measuring tower should be located away from obstacles that may affect the wind flow. The altitude and topography of the area must be taken into account. In addition, the tower should be tall enough to be able to measure the wind at different heights.
- Maintenance and calibration. The tower measuring instruments need to be calibrated and frequent maintenance will ensure more accurate measurements. This is the only way to ensure optimum operation of a wind measuring tower.
- Data validation. To ensure the accuracy and total reliability of the data obtained from a wind measuring tower, quality analyses and checks must be carried out. Data collection and storage is also an important factor to consider.
- Permits and environment. There are several environmental requirements that your wind measuring tower must meet. You will need to obtain permits from the competent authority regarding environmental impact assessments, local and national regulations and other important considerations.
Measurement or meteorological evaluation towers (MET) are essential for wind energy production. They provide data needed to generate energy from wind, helping to calculate its strength and direction at different altitudes.
Wind is a clean, sustainable and abundant source of energy. Unlike fossil fuels, wind energy is renewable and non-polluting. It is also relatively inexpensive after the initial installation phase of wind turbines.
Wind power and wind measurement towers have driven the renewable energy industry by leaps and bounds. Some countries already enjoy wind energy as a main source, as was the case in Great Britain, where 32.4% of the electricity consumed during the first quarter of 2023 was supplied by wind turbines.