Skill and Potential Economic Value of Forecasts of Ice Accretion on Wind Turbines

Lukas Strauss, Stefano Serafin, Manfred Dorninger

In this paper, a verification study of the skill and potential economic value of forecasts of ice accretion on wind turbines is presented. The phase of active ice formation on turbine blades has been associated with the strongest wind power production losses in cold climates; however, skillful icing forecasts could permit taking protective measures using anti-icing systems. Coarse- and high-resolution forecasts for the range up to day 3 from global (IFS and GFS) and limited-area (WRF) models are coupled to the Makkonen icing model. Surface and upper-air observations and icing measurements at turbine hub height at two wind farms in central Europe are used for model verification over two winters. Two case studies contrasting a correct and an incorrect forecast highlight the difficulty of correctly predicting individual icing events. A meaningful assessment of model skill is possible only after bias correction of icing-related parameters and selection of model-dependent optimal thresholds for ice growth rate. The skill of bias-corrected forecasts of freezing and humid conditions is virtually identical for all models. Hourly forecasts of active ice accretion generally show limited skill; however, results strongly suggest the superiority of high-resolution WRF forecasts relative to other model variants. Predictions of the occurrence of icing within a period of 6 h are found to have substantially better accuracy. Probabilistic forecasts of icing that are based on gridpoint neighborhood ensembles show slightly higher potential economic value than forecasts that are based on individual gridpoint values, in particular at low cost-loss ratios, that is, when anti-icing measures are comparatively inexpensive.

Department of Meteorology and Geophysics
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
105204 Climatology, 105206 Meteorology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Atmospheric Science
Portal url