Using LINZ data to develop wind farms

Scanning and joining maps together is a thing of the past for Energy3 founder Tom Cameron, thanks to easy access to topographic and ownership data on the LINZ Data Service.

Rural countryside

Energy3 has been an adviser, developer and investor in wind farms in New Zealand and overseas for the past 10 years. Having free and open access to LINZ’s topographic, property ownership and aerial imagery layers has helped to speed up the process for planning and developing farms.

Challenge: Time and quality of maps

Access to good quality maps and vector data is important when you’re developing a case to build a wind farm says Tom.

"Prior to the LINZ Data Service, we were spending approximately four days a month scanning, geo-referencing and joining paper maps together in an effort to create customised maps to support resource consents for the development of new wind farms.

"Finding good quality maps to start with was also a problem."

Solution: Use the LINZ Data Service

Since the LINZ Data Service was launched in 2011, Energy3 have used it to download LINZ’s topographic data including maps, line and contour; as well as LINZ’s property ownership and boundaries data.

Using QGIS, a free and open source geographic information system, Tom says they’re able to easily map out the location of wind turbines, roads and power lines using LINZ maps as their base map.

"Having free access to this kind of data to use in preparing these maps has saved us approximately three to four days of work per month."

"Using the LINZ Data Service, this is all done for us, and we can easily just grab the data we need in the format that suits us."

Energy3 also conduct wind analysis and site assessments which use LINZ contour and aerial imagery data into a piece of software called WindFarm to calculate the energy yield of a wind farm.

"By loading the aerial imagery into the software we can evaluate any obstacles such as how many trees are on the site and take into consideration the hills. We can also produce a digital contour around the trees; assign it a roughness value that we can then factor into an energy calculation programme."

Business benefit: More time to spend on developing wind farms

Windmill

Mr Cameron says the service has cut the time they spend on gathering the data they need.

“We can actually spend more time on wind farm development and providing other services such as installing, inspecting or monitoring wind farms.”

Developing wind farms are just one part of Energy3’s services. They also own and operate two small scale wind farms and have developed consents for a number of other wind farms around New Zealand.

You can see some of their work if you visit the Dominion Salt works by Lake Grassmere. Energy3 conducted the review of wind data for the company, including the assessment of installing a wind farm to displace electricity purchases.  Successfully, Energy3 have installed a wind turbine which now provides 75% of the salt plants energy needs.

LINZ datasets

NZ Mainland Topo 50 and 250 maps, NZ Aerial Imagery

Data access

File downloads

Service

Advisor, developer and investor in wind farms

Organisation

Energy3

Customers

Land owners, people with an interest in sustainable living

Benefits

  • Improved business efficiencies
  • On demand, up-to-date data at your fingertips