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Wind Power

Frequently Asked Questions  

QUESTION: Why was the time stamp on my first wind explorer data chip incorrect?

ANSWER: You need to program the proper date and time in the wind explorer data logger before putting a data chip in for the first time.

QUESTION: My anemometer cups are spinning but my station only displays zero miles per hour.

ANSWER: The signal from the anemometer is not making it back to the display on the black and red (or white) conductors. Remove the cups from the anemometer and make sure there is a small silver disk on the surface opposite the anemometer head. Place the cups back on the shaft and try adjusting them up or down approximately 1/16 in. to 1/8 in. Check your cables for nicks and cuts. Examine the junction box and any splices for corrosion. If possible, remove any extensions and try with the original cabling only.

QUESTION: What size/height anemometer tower should I install?

ANSWER: It depends on whether you are wind prospecting or if you want to collect a vast amount of information for prolonged purposes and larger wind farm development. If you are wind prospecting, a decent tower size would be from 10 to 20 meters. For expected installation of larger wind turbines, a tower that is 40 meters or taller will typically be necessary. It may be wise to start with a 10 to 20-meter tower and work up from there to ensure that the site receives adequate wind speeds. After a decent sample of wind has been tested, one can install a 40-plus-meter tower to receive preferred benefits for a larger development. Also, cost and difficulty to install are two of the major issues faced when choosing a wind data tower. Costs can range from $1,000 to $15,000 for typical wind data tower systems.

QUESTION: What is the capacity factor and what does it affect?

ANSWER: The capacity factor is an equation that equals the actual amount of energy produced over time divided by the energy that would have been produced if the turbine operated at maximum output 100% of the time. A capacity factor anywhere from 30% and above is efficient for a wind turbine and, therefore, is considered a good capacity factor. Be careful in comparing sites based on the capacity factor because there are other significant factors that correspond, including hub height (depending on the type of turbine); site elevation (less dense air leads to reduced output); exact wind turbine models; and rotor diameters.

QUESTION: How fragile is the anemometer?

ANSWER: A common mistake is to over estimate the durability of the anemometer. The anemometer is fragile and should be treated with the appropriate care. As you install the anemometer with the nuts and screws, make sure that the anemometer is securly attached, but be careful as you tighten the nuts and screws so that you do not break or crack the anemometer. You also should be careful to not over-torque the nuts.

QUESTION: How do you install anchors for a 10 to 20-meter data tower if the ground is extremely rocky?

ANSWER: If the ground is too rocky and the screw-in anchors will not dig into the ground, you can use rebar stakes instead. You can set up three stakes in a teepee form and then tie it together with a stainless steel cable.

QUESTION: Can I install my anemometer tower with just a gin pole and a winch?

ANSWER: For towers 30 meters tall or less, a gin pole and proper winch should work fine. To install a tower 40 meters or taller, you should use a heavy duty pulley and winch to give you mechanical advantage and to make the installation process easier and safer. Typically, the winch is not strong enough to pull it up a tower taller than 40 meters by itself without the cable doubled through a pulley.

QUESTION: How do I download the data on your web site as a file?

ANSWER: You right click the link and then you left click the “Save Target As” option. You will then be able to save it as a file in the desired location on your computer.

Page Contact Information:

Department of energy

DOE Office of Nuclear Energy
DOE-Idaho Office