Understanding Project Risk

Managing Uncertainty in Wind Investment and Financing

How do you accurately quantify performance uncertainty? If you are evaluating two wind projects with similar wind production profiles and one has an energy estimate uncertainty of 10% and the other has 8%, you will likely choose the one with lower uncertainty. But how were those numbers calculated? Can you actually trust the energy estimates coming across your desk?

Some level of uncertainty is introduced at every step of the wind due diligence process from the measurements collected during the met campaign to the work done by analysts to calculate the final P50 and P90 values.

Vaisala’s comprehensive due diligence approach evaluates hundreds of sources of uncertainty throughout every step of the assessment process and presents risk in understandable, intuitive terms using our proprietary Energy Risk Framework.

Learn more!

  • Read "Avoiding Surprises at the Investment Table," an article discussing advanced approaches to uncertainty modeling published by Windpower Engineering & Development

Click here to download.

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Why Work With Vaisala 

A Weather Modeling Pioneer and Industry Innovator 

Vaisala is not just another wind energy consultant. While our approach follows many industry standard best practices, we pioneered the broad integration of NWP (Numerical Weather Prediction) models into the wind assessment process as well as a number of other advancements.

Our methodology incorporates all of the leading climate indices and numerous observational data inputs to better capture the influence of surrounding weather effects as well as project-specific losses, such as wakes. Vaisala also takes an advanced approach to calculating project uncertainty through its proprietary Error Risk Framework model, which allows clients to objectively make decisions between projects and better justify investments.

Our team is different too. Our analysts are trained atmospheric scientists with access to one of the world's largest super-computing centers dedicated to renewable energy. This expertise and infrastructure allows our team to run the most sophisticated weather models at a higher spatial and temporal resolution than anyone else in the industry.

Vaisala's Advanced Approach 

Accuracy Proven in Rigorous Wind Assessment Validation Study

A robust and innovative wind energy assessment methodology is central to wind project due diligence, but accuracy is what matters most to developers and investors. Clients rely on our wind energy analysis to make major project investment decisions and it is critical that we provide estimates they can trust. Since our innovative approach based on weather modeling is unique to the wind sector, as a responsible participant in the industry, we wanted to confirm its accuracy through an extensive validation process.

So how do Vaisala's wind energy estimates stack up against actual production?

In one of the world’s largest wind assessment validation studies, including 30 wind farms and 143 wind farm years, Vaisala compared our pre-construction energy estimates to actual, operational production data. The finding: Vaisala's estimates exhibited near zero mean bias error compared to actuals. 

Learn more!

  • NEW! Read our briefing, "Balancing Innovation & Stability," for our philosophy and most recent validation results
  • Read the Vaisala Wind Assessment Validation White Paper for detailed results from our late 2015 validation and uncertainty study
  • Read "Stability Vs. Innovation: How Validation Reduces Wind Assessment Uncertainty" in North American Windpower 

Click here to read and download all.

Industry-Leading Validation Study
  • Study size: 30 wind farms, totaling 143 wind farm years (WFYs)
  • Geographic coverage: U.S. with additional sites in Europe and Asia
  • 90% of WFYs between 2010-2015
  • Mean bias error: +0.7%
Numerical Weather Prediction  

Modeling: A Science Driven Approach to Wind Assessment

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) modeling, also called mesoscale modeling, uses current weather conditions to simulate future weather or provide proxy information when direct observations are not available. This methodology models the entire atmosphere using complex, physics-based equations that require powerful supercomputers to create realistic weather data.

In the wind industry, NWP models have been used to predict energy production for more than two decades. The technique was first introduced because it provides wind data anywhere in the world – even before observations are collected. It also captures long-term wind variability and can be customized to the application. For example, spatial resolutions are tailored to developer needs, course data for prospecting within a large region or fine-scale data for micro-siting and due diligence.  

NWP makes it possible to model wind anywhere worldwide! See more:

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Benefits of NWP Modeling
  • Captures long-term wind variability
  • Captures complex wind behavior with non-linear, physics-based equations
  • Provides data anywhere worldwide — with or without on-site measurements
  • Provides data at custom heights, resolutions, and time periods
Advantages of Vaisala's Energy Risk Framework:
  • Objectively differentiate between the riskiness of various projects
  • Model future uncertainty by comparing various scenarios and outcomes
  • Justify further investments in measurements now to reduce uncertainty when later financing decisions must be made
  • Maximize portfolio effects to reduce overall exposure to performance risk
What Makes Us Different:
  • Pioneer in NWP modeling for assessment
  • Team of atmospheric scientists
  • Run most complex models at highest spatial and temporal resolutions in the industry
  • Full climate simulations using all leading reanalysis datasets
  • Time series simulations a standard process for many years
  • Advanced approach to uncertainty analysis
  • Most experienced at calibrating modeled data with on-site data
  • Continuously incorporate cutting-edge techniques supported by extensive validation