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Renewable resource assessment: wind energy

Project location: Across Canada

Project lead: CanmetENERGY Ottawa

Timeline: 4 years (2019 to 2023)

Program: Renewable Energy

Project description

Our team is working to improve the availability of wind energy datasets and ensuring accurate, complete, and timely data are accessible to Canadians. We are addressing data gaps with respect to performance and location data of existing wind farms and turbines, while looking ahead to identify prospective future wind development areas in support of investment and policy decisions and continued growth of the wind energy sector. The following sections describe some of our current research activities.

Wind power forecasting

The variable and fluctuating nature of wind plant power output adds significant complexity for utilities with respect to power quality, system stability, and energy dispatch. Improving wind power forecasts can reduce the risks of the uncertainty of wind power and improve power system stability. CanmetENERGY Ottawa is working with the University of New Brunswick, and the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) at Environment and Climate Change Canada, to develop new software products for short-term wind power forecasting based on CMC’s Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. These products are intended to complement the suite of wind power forecasting tools currently available to utilities and system operators.

Canadian Wind Turbine Database

CanmetENERGY Ottawa, in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy & the Environment (CABREE) at the University of Alberta, has launched the Canadian Wind Turbine Database (CWTDB), Canada’s first-ever comprehensive, open-access, interactive wind turbine map. The database contains key information on commercial-scale wind turbines across Canada, including their latitude and longitude, rotor diameter, tower height, rated capacity, model and commissioning date. The underlying data is available in multiple file formats, and, through the interactive map, users can view areas of interest, toggle data layers, filter by various categories and export all or part of the database.

Screen capture of the Canadian Wind Turbine Database, displaying the locations of wind energy assets in Canada via dots overlaid on a map of Canada.

Assessment of offshore wind potential in Canada

Offshore wind represents a significant potential source of clean energy and economic opportunities in the form of investment, jobs and supply chain activity. While Canada has yet to develop offshore wind energy projects, interest is growing, and CanmetENERGY Ottawa, in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is working to provide technical analysis to support future decision-making on offshore wind energy in Canadian waters. Key activities include examining approaches taken by leading jurisdictions around the world to site offshore wind projects, compiling and analyzing relevant geospatial information, and engaging with federal departments.

This work was primarily informed by reviewing offshore wind project development processes in other countries. CanmetENERGY Ottawa published this research on GEOSCAN under the title Jurisdictional Scan of Suitable Area Definition for Offshore Wind Development.

CanmetENERGY Ottawa also produced a research paper under the title Offshore wind technology scan, a review of offshore wind technologies and considerations in the context of Atlantic Canada. This report provides information and resources in the context of future offshore wind development in Canada, and also identifies key knowledge gaps requiring further investigation. At a high level, this report reviews construction methods, existing foundation technologies, operational considerations, potential environmental impacts, Canadian environmental protection measures, and the Canadian physical offshore setting.

Map of Atlantic Canada with modelled wind speed represented by a colour scale.

Modelled wind speed data in Atlantic Canada

Integrating wind into the natural environment

The continued growth of wind power generation is viewed as a key tool in helping to meet Canada’s carbon reduction targets. However, to achieve future growth, mitigating harm to the natural environment by wind turbines is paramount. An ongoing concern for the wind industry is the impact that wind turbines have on bats. Current mitigation options include siting, operational changes, or technology solutions such as acoustic deterrents. CanmetENERGY Ottawa, in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Service at Environment and Climate Change Canada, is working to better understand the interactions between bats and wind turbines, under different time periods and weather conditions. Current work involves evaluating the impact of different operational strategies at Canadian wind farms to uncover opportunities to improve the balance between maximizing electricity generation and revenue, and minimizing bat mortality.

Wind farm performance in cold climate

CanmetENERGY Ottawa has undertaken research to analyze the impact of cold climate operation on Canadian wind energy generation and to support the development of targeted solutions to improve cold weather performance. Read more about our cold climate research here.

Contact CanmetENERGY in Ottawa

To learn more about this project, email our Business Office.

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