Custom-Built Wind Gust Forecast
Wind – A Friend or Foe?
The location of a Wind Farm is carefully selected so that consistent and adequate windy conditions can produce energy throughout the year. These unique site characteristics can unfortunately cause risks and delays during construction activities as large cranes required to lift the wind turbines into position cannot operate safely during strong winds.
All cranes used in the construction of wind farms have specified safe operating conditions. These include safe operating wind speed limits (3-second gust) based on the wind load for a given type of lift. Currently, there are two common practices used within the industry to determine safe operating conditions and minimise the disruption caused by the occurrence of wind gusts above the maximum allowable limit: weather forecasts and wind speed sensors (anemometers) mounted on cranes. However, both practices, even if used in conjunction, pose limitations for Project Managers.
Limitations of off-the-shelf solutions
Weather Intelligence was approached by a company wanting to find a better solution. The company found that real-time measurements of wind speed on the crane only alerted them to the unsuitable conditions once they were occurring. This left them with no time for planning alternative activities and resulted in lost time and costly delays to their project. They then looked to the local weather forecast to provide them with an outlook. But they soon realised that a forecast for the closest town provides an average wind speed at near ground level, which was different to the 3 second gust speed at the height of the lift.
This wind farm was looking at maximizing the safety of their lifting operations for the construction of wind farms as well as minimising costly delays. They required a forecast with a high degree of accuracy of wind gusts at both ground level and at 100-150 metres interval above ground level. In the search for a solution that would better meet their needs, the client looked to us to develop a tailored solution.
The Weather Intelligence approach
Weather Intelligence focuses on understanding the customer’s needs and provides a fit-for-purpose solution to forecast relevant data and present it in a meaningful way. For our client struggling to find a suitable solution to allow them to plan the construction of a wind farm, we developed a dashboard and alert service that met their needs. The custom-designed dashboard presented a forecast of wind gust and average wind speed for ground level and 100-150 m above ground level for every hour out 3 days. The client’s maximum wind gust thresholds were clearly displayed and SMS alerts were set up to send out advanced warnings of unsuitable conditions.
Increased safety and timely results
The site-specific forecasts of wind gusts at the lift height, provided more accurate and targeted information to allow the Project Manager to understand the level of risk on the horizon and better plan activities and save costly delays. The company was able to negotiate special scheduling arrangements with the crane operators in order to accommodate for a 24-hour advance re-scheduling, if conditions were not suitable. On high-risk periods, the company will typically schedule alternative work such as maintenance to avoid accidents.
- Tailored according to the relevant needs of each operation
- Used in the construction of wind farms, but can be used for any sites using cranes or with workers at height
- Ideal for companies interested in the wind gust forecast at heights
- Daily reporting or alert options available
- Information is analysed and presented in a meaningful way
- Pre-warning of events can inform the company Risk Management Plan and Risk mitigation
Delays to lifting operations due to wind gusts.
Site-specific and fit-for-purpose wind gust forecast 3 days in advance with a high confidence level.
- Reduction in operations disruptions
- Increased safety of crane operators and site staff
- Compliance with regulations
- Timely delivery of services