Researchers have invented a new interactive web tool, called Renewables.ninja, that allows to monitor the renewable energy output generated by wind and solar farms in any location in the world. This instrument aims to make the task of predicting renewable output easier for both academics and industry, and companies such as the German electrical supplier RWE are using it to test own models of output.
The creators have used Renewable.ninja to estimate the productivity for the next 20 years from all wind farms planned or under construction in Europe.
The results are interesting also because they show that in Europe the average current “capacity factor” is around 24%, so in Europe the energy produced by wind and solar farm produces around a quarter of the energy that they could if the wind blew constantly all day. The study has shown that the new turbines’ capacity should grow around 31% because were built taller turbines and were placed further by the sea.
Dr Iain Steffel and Dr Stefan Pfenninger, the researchers, have created Renewable.ninja using around 30 years of weather data from, for example, NASA to predict the wind speed likely to influence turbines. Renewable.ninja now has users from 54 institutions across 22 countries; the creators highlight this tool is very important to examine the opportunities for current and future renewable energy infrastructure across Europe and Uk.
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