CANADIAN RESEARCH CENTRES TO STUDY EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WIND POWER
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by Michelle Moore
Climate change seems to have an impact on everything from sea level rise to extreme weather. Now scientists want to know what impact it will have on the potential of wind power in the coming years.
Ouaranos, a research consortium specializing in regional climatology and climate change adaptation and Nergica, an applied research centre dedicated to renewable energy, are teaming up to undertake a 3-year research project that will assess how such things as wind regimes and icing events will be affected by climate change.
The next decade will see a watershed moment for wind power. With power purchase agreements of wind farms set to expire within that time frame, the industry could possibly see large-scale repowering of its wind farms.
The $800 000 project is being financed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Innovéé, Hydro-Québec and the Green Climate Fund. Interestingly, all climate and economic analyses are to be shared in the public domain.
Together the two research centres hope to ensure that wind turbines are repowered in such a way that ensures functionality in cold climates. Ouranos will create climate simulations for North America from 1950 to 2100 while Nergica will study the impact of climate change on wind production.
In a press release, Jacinthe Clavet-Gaumont, co-coordinator of Ouranos' Energy program said "this new partnership with Nergica reflects Ouranos' desire to expand its research horizons and support climate change adaptation efforts for other renewable energy sources."
The non-profit Ouranos comes from a history of conducting hydroelectricity related studies. The network is made up of roughly 450 scientists, researchers and policy-makers; which allowed for a collection of knowledge on climate change to come together.
Their website features climate portraits for each of Quebec's regions enabling users to take a look at how their city may be affected in the future. As part of the 12th annual Quebec Wind Energy Conference from June 11 to June 13 in Carleton-sur-mer, Ouranos will be hosting a workshop on the impacts of climate change on wind power given by a simulation and analysis specialist.
Nergica's Simon-Philippe Breton, Project Manager, Research and Innovation explained "that the repowering process aims to modernize wind turbines in order to improve wind farm efficiency and performance ... to date, very few studies have been conducted that take climate change into account when assessing future wind potential in Canada."
Formerly called the TechnoCentre éolien, the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles affiliated research centre has almost 20 years of experience in the field of renewables. The name change reflects a refocus that will now include solar energy in addition to wind power which used to be their only field of study.
Nergica conducts research, as well as technology assistance, transfer and support for those undertaking solar, wind and microgrid projects. Also, a participant in the Quebec Wind Energy Conference, Nergica will be presenting some of their latest research on wind power and energy storage. In addition, they are now offering a webinar on how solar panels are affected by cold climates.