Renewable Energy Feasibility Research Program
Aurora Research Institute (ARI) has worked with several partners, including the Government of the Northwest Territories, Energy Division, to perform wind and solar energy monitoring campaigns across the Northwest Territories. These campaigns produce data that is then used to make informed decisions about future monitoring campaigns and renewable energy investments.
60m Meteorological Tower at Inuvik High Point
Aurora College’s wind monitoring programs have the following goals:
- Build capacity within the NWT for the measurement and analysis of wind speed and solar irradiance data.
- Provide regional and governmental energy decision makers the latest wind and solar data from their communities.
- Advocate for the importance of investment in renewable energy resource assessments in the NWT.
Wind and solar measurement campaigns have been performed in many communities across the NWT.
If you are interested in any of the reports from communities visited in the past, please see the links at the bottom of this page.
Wind Monitoring Equipment
Aurora Research Institute makes use of two pieces of infrastructure to measure wind speed data. Most familiar are meteorological towers. Ranging from 10m to 60m tall, these temporary towers are equipped with anemometers for measuring wind speed and wind vanes for measuring wind direction. These sensors are installed at different heights so that researchers can get an understanding of how the wind changes farther away from the influence of the ground.
ZX300 Wind Lidar deployed in Norman Wells, NT
Developments in Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) technology now mean that similar measurement obtained from a meteorological tower can now be gathers using remote sensing techniques. Aurora Research Institute has deployed vertical Lidar wind profilers about the size of a washing machine and capable of reading wind speeds up to 250m using a special laser beam. These devices have the advantages of being much smaller and simpler to transport, as well as requiring less ground disturbance to install compared to traditional meteorological towers.
Solar Monitoring Equipment
Solar monitoring hardware can come in many configurations. The image below shows one of the simplest possible configurations, with one sensor reading the power of the sun as it hits a horizontal surface inside the sensor. Another common configuration is to measure the amount of solar energy that bounces off the ground, Earth Albedo, which is very important for understanding how well bifacial solar panels might perform in a certain area. For this, a sensor is placed upside down so that it cannot see the sun, but can only see the ground beneath the monitor. For northern climates, where snow in the winter, and dust in the summer can impact the performance of a solar system, it is also possible to measure the soiling factor. This values provides an idea of how dirty, or snow covered a certain solar installation may be, which can then be used to predict maintenance needs of the site in the future.
A solar monitor installed on the roof of WARC equipped for Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) measurements
Aurora Research Institute works closely with external partners to identify sites for energy monitoring. Once a community or site is identified, ARI works with the local stakeholders to create awareness for the project as well as setup local support for the project. Wind and solar monitoring units require regular maintenance and monitoring which is commonly performed by local contractors.
Wind and solar monitoring campaigns are typically one to two years in duration and are conducted in areas identified by our project partners. Over this time, researchers can get an understanding of the changes in the wind and solar energy that happen from season to season, as well as whether there are changes from year to year that need to be taken into account.
Some projects include micro-siting. Micro-siting is the practice of deploying a wind Lidar unit to multiple locations around the area of interest for short periods of times from one to six months.
Norman Wells NT:
- 60m Meteorological tower equipped with both heated and unheated sensors.
- ZX300 wind Lidar co-located with the tower.
Snare Hills NT
- Communications tower equipped with anemometers and vanes.
Inuvik Wind Monitoring Update 2016 Inuvik Wind Summary Report: 2015
Inuvik Wind Energy Pre-Feasibility Analysis: 2015
Inuvik Wind Energy Assessment at Storm Hills (2014)
Inuvik Wind Energy Pre‐Feasibility Analysis
Inuvik Wind Energy Pre‐Feasibility Analysis Summary
JEAN MARIE RIVER
Jean Marie River Solar and Wind Summary
Jean Marie River Solar and Wind Monitoring Update
Jean Marie River Wind & Solar Energy Pre‐feasibility Analysis
Jean Marie River Wind & Solar Energy Pre‐feasibility Analysis Summary
Lidar, Meteorological, Wind, Energy, Measurement, Monitoring, Weather, Speed, Height, Solar, Irradiance, Sun
Updated May 2021