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Application of numerical weather prediction for wind power resource assessment in Mexico

Funder

Newton Fund

Project Team

Dr Dan Drew (University of Reading), Dr Simon Thomas (University of Reading), Dr Osvaldo Rodríguez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Prof Eduardo Ramos (UNAM), Dr Adolfo Magaldi (UNAM)

Partners

Instituto de Energías Renovables – UNAM, Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera – UNAM

Timescales

January 2019 – January 2020

Country/Region

Mexico

Keywords

Wind energy, resource assessment, predictability

Status

Current

Background

The wind-energy industry in Mexico is developing rapidly as part of the Mexican government response to climate change, with a projected increase in installed capacity by 2030 to 15 GW from 3.8 GW in 2016. Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is useful not only for the planning of new wind farms, but also for their operation: multidecadal datasets of atmospheric conditions can help to assess the suitability of a given site for wind energy production while medium-range forecasts can provide valuable data for the day-to-day operation of installed farms. However, NWP is largely underutilised by the industry in Mexico.

Our research

This project aims to address this gap by investigating the capability of current NWP models to assess and predict wind-energy generation, and associated economic benefits, in Mexico. These aims will be fulfilled by bringing together the wind-energy technology expertise at the Renewable Energy Institute (IER) of the National University of Mexico and the NWP expertise at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. This collaboration is contributing to current efforts at IER to enhance wind-energy research as part of its doctoral programme.

Our impact

The project has a wide focus, considering not only large-scale wind farms, but also small-scale wind turbines. This enables potential impact on economic development and social welfare on two levels: At the large-scale level, our results will enhance wind farms’ operability and thus the green energy capacity of the country. At the small-scale level, the project will provide the basis to further explore the feasibility of small-scale turbines for the social and economic benefit of poor communities with unreliable or no access to electricity in Mexico. The academic partners in Mexico collaborate with a wind farm operator, which will directly benefit from the output of the project, providing the project in return with valuable on-site wind and power output data.

This work is supported by a Newton Fund Institutional Links grant, ID 432335407. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by the British Council. For further information, please visit www.newtonfund.ac.uk.