Forested wind farm sites are a common sight around the world, and one which offers a reduced visual impact on the local environment. However, the long underestimated influence of trees on operational projects can have considerable negative commercial implications for developers and operators of forested sites.
These impacts include:
- Reduced energy yield
- Increased turbulence
- Increased wind shear
- Complex thermal effects
- Increased failure rates
- Higher maintenance costs.
In order to resolve these issues and enhance performance, it is important to fully understand the effect of the trees on the wind. With years of experience, research and development, our team can help you assess the impact forestry is having on your site and recommend mitigating measures to increase production and to reduce maintenance costs.
We have access to the most cutting edge technology and by implementing a comprehensive measurement campaign with remote sensing tools such as Galion Lidar and analysing options using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), we can recommend a series of forestry restructuring activities tailored to your specific site or wind farm portfolio. These can include:
- Felling trees within the wind farm site
- Felling trees on the approaches up to a 5km radius (where permitted)
- Adopt short rotation to minimise tree height
- Felling and replanting with slow-growing species
- Forest replanting using deciduous trees to result in less roughness in winter.
Our forestry restructuring plans are designed to avoid clear felling, and created to meet forestry husbandry requirements in support of environmental and biodiversity objectives.
We have experienced in-house staff that bring expert understanding of forestry infrastructure and management, as well an environmental team well versed in planning and environmental impact assessment. With the backing of this expertise, SgurrEnergy is able to provide a fully holistic approach to the assessment and restructuring of forestry with the specific aim of improving wind farm performance.
Proving the benefits
We are currently applying forestry optimisation benefits at a number of wind farms in the UK and Scandinavia. One example is a partially forested site in Scotland where 25% of the wind farm’s turbines were impacted by forestry effects. An adopted package of SgurrOptimiser services has identified a 5% increase in wind farm energy yield, and felling works are now being commissioned.
Our experience is showing that the performance gain from comprehensive forestry restructuring can be well in excess of 5%, with the associated increase in annual revenues for the wind farm owner. This gain is further enhanced by cost savings associated with reduced loadings and wear of components, thereby extending lifetimes and reducing maintenance costs.