Trend analysis and inter-annual variability in wind speed in South Africa
Keywords:WASA, Wind analysis, Inter-annual variability, ; trend analysis, Mann-Kendell’s test
Reliable forecasts of long-term longitudinal wind speed patterns may help predict air circulation changes. They are also essential for the planning and financing of wind projects for Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Long-term wind speed trends and variations in historical mean wind speed data were examined using Mann Kendall’s test and calculating inter-annual variability (IAV). The Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) provides high resolution quality wind data for research and applications locally. WASA has 19 meteorological stations in South Africa. The WASA project began in 2009 with the aim of mapping South Africa's wind resource, allowing stakeholders in the wind energy sector and industry to explore and prepare for utility-scale wind power generation. For the past ten years, WASA has been measuring and providing data.The results showed an increasing trend at WM01 and a decreasing trend at WM08. There was no clear trend at other wind masts. Satellite data was used to validate results and no trends were observed at most of the stations. IAV values for this study ranged between 1.088% and 3.353% which is relatively low compared to the commonly found IAV values of 5-6%, implying that mean annual wind speed variation at these stations is low. To confirm a clear trend in wind speed, it is recommended that further work be done with long term periods and substantiate our finding with the use of historical simulation and climate change scenarios.
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