Sun & Wind
Wind power has making inroads even into mountainous regions with irregular winds and air turbulence brought on by the rough terrain. Six partners from Wind-ForS, a wind energy research cluster in southern Germany, are now investigating how wind turbines can best be operated at these locations. The collective is planning to set up a field-test research site with two systems and four meteorological measurement towers in the Swabian Alps.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the worldwide installed base is growing every year with new power plants that collectively produce some 63,000 MW, around a fifth of which is generated in mountainous regions. Installations on flat terrain are easier to operate than plants erected in rugged terrain where yield forecasts are more uncertain, wear and tear are greater, and maintenance costs are higher. The WindForS research cluster now aims to answer the question of how to optimize these systems' performance and extend their service life. In a team headed up by ZSW, these wind energy experts are now planning a field-test research site in the Swabian Alps, at Stöttener Berg near Geislingen an der Steige.