Icing forecasts for wind turbines now possible

Wind power producers can now receive mapped forecasts displaying the icing risk for their wind turbines. This is important for assessing the production status for the next 24 hours. The service comes as a result of several years of research on wind power in cold climates.

Research has shown that the biggest losses in wind power production occur when wind turbines are operating under icing conditions. In order for energy companies to forecast their wind power production, it is important to know when there is a risk of icing.

Special adaptations for wind power

Map showing icing condition forecast
The map shows a 36-hour forecast valid for Saturday, 31 January at 13.00 hrs. The colours indicate different degrees of production losses, from light green (up to a 20 per cent loss) to dark purple (a 90-100 per cent loss). Enlarge Image

Data from the models used for the daily weather forecasts are adapted to a detailed topography. This provides a specially adapted icing forecast, with high accuracy for temperature, wind speed and cloud.

"Previously, we have done this in spot forecasts, but now we can display a map showing areal coverage. This is especially valuable for wind power producers that have wind turbines in several locations," says Esbjörn Olsson, meteorology researcher at SMHI.

"We are currently operating a test system and the forecast is pretty much following the production status. The model seems to offer good forecasts for temperature and wind speed, but we can tell that there are some uncertainties in the forecasts for low cloud, which is affecting the results," says Esbjörn Olsson.

Client cooperation evaluates the system

The system is now being evaluated in cooperation with the energy company Axpo Sverige, which has balance responsibility for wind power production.

"This is a very good example of how we at SMHI can harness research results and convert them into products. We anticipate more customers benefiting from this product," says Per Råhnängen, who is responsible for SMHI Professional Services within the Energy Branch.