THE CONTINUUM PROJECT
Continuum was developed by Liz Walls, founder of Cancalia Engineering & Consulting. In 2016, One Energy acquired Cancalia and its Continuum modeling software, with Liz joining One Energy as our Head of Research & Development. One Energy’s R&D and Project Planning and Technology teams collaborated to improve and expand the existing software, ultimately leading to the roll-out of Continuum 3.
Continuum provides the models and calculations to plan any wind project, including Wind for Industry.
Already a powerful tool in the development of wind projects, Continuum 3 added beneficial features. The third version of the software notably added time series net energy production output, and One Energy’s proprietary Monte Carlo method for estimating the energy losses and uncertainties necessary for project financing.
The main components of Continuum 3 include the wind flow model, energy production estimates, site condition analysis, and site suitability analysis.
Wind Flow Modeling
As described in the 2015 publication of Wind Engineering, the Continuum wind flow model uses all available meteorological data and a machine learning algorithm to automatically generate site-calibrated models with a high level of accuracy. The model is derived from a simplified Navier-Stokes equation, that concludes that a change in wind speed is related to the terrain exposure and surface roughness between two points. Continuum predicts the wind speeds at each wind turbine location, including any wake loss from turbine to turbine interaction.
While other wind flow software uses blanket assumptions for “standard” wind project energy losses, Continuum 3 allows the user to input real world data to determine appropriate losses for their project size and location. Continuum 3 includes One Energy’s proprietary statistical Monte Carlo method, used to assess project-specific losses and uncertainties. This results in more accurate, transparent 20-year wind resource estimates.
Site Condition Analysis
Continuum’s site condition analysis calculates turbine-specific parameters that are important for turbine suitability and turbine model selection. These parameters include turbulence intensity, wind shear, and extreme wind speeds, to name a few.
Site Suitability Analysis
Continuum’s site suitability analysis allows the user to determine the feasibility of a site for wind development, apart from the wind resource. The software includes models that calculate shadow flicker, ice throw, and turbine sound propagation for any nearby zone of interest. This allows the user to minimize the impact of the turbine to the surrounding area, while maximizing energy production.
Continuum provides energy production time series estimates in minutes, and does so without compromising accuracy.
Fast, Simple, Accurate
Continuum was founded around the principles of being fast, simple, and accurate. Unlike cumbersome computational fluid dynamic models that take considerable computing power and time, Continuum provides energy production time series estimates in minutes. It does this without compromising accuracy, using site-calibrated models and machine learning to minimize met cross-prediction errors. Its intuitive user interface streamlines and simplifies model creation for all knowledge levels.
Advancing the Industry; Going Open Source
One Energy has decided to push the wind industry to be better. The only way to advance the industry’s technology past its current state is with a more open and sharing culture. It has become our mission to facilitate and expedite the research and development of improved wind resource models and techniques. The best way to do this was to share Continuum with the world.
We will be releasing Continuum as open source software, free and available to anyone to use and improve upon. While other wind flow models are a black box that give no insights into the algorithms behind the results, Continuum 3 will be an open book, encouraging users, customers, and third parties to scrutinize and legitimize the results for themselves.
In the ever-advancing world of R&D, Continuum 3 will provide the customization needed to easily integrate the next big development in wind resource analysis.