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Favourable winds

19 May, 2016

As a sponsor of the kiting event Red Bull Ragnarok, Statkraft had an opportunity to demonstrate a French wind measuring innovation. Using Lidar technology, Statkraft can now uncover production deviations at their wind farms.

Text: Heidi Bruvik Sæther, Photo: Håkon Mæland

The wind was up as Red Bull Ragnarok, one of the toughest snowkiting events in the world, kicked off for the sixth time. On the starting line were 350 contestants from across the world, all set for the 100-kilometre long race that takes place on the plains of Hardangervidda. As a proud sponsor, Statkraft had an opportunity to demonstrate the Lidar wind measuring technology, which is used to measure the wind direction and wind speeds at wind farms.

“The connection between kiting and wind technology is exciting. For us, the Lidar technology is of commercial value as it helps us uncover production deviations at wind farms, but it can also be used to establish the location of the race course for the Ragnarok snowkite race,” says Eivind Sørlie, sponsoring manager in Statkraft.

During Ragnarok, the Lidar model WindCube was set up to demonstrate the technology. Curious participants could see how the instrument measured wind speeds at various altitudes and received regular wind condition updates during the race.


Statkraft uses the Lidar model Wind Iris. This is a laser instrument developed by the French company Leosphere and mounted on top of the turbine nacelle. The instrument estimates the wind direction and wind speeds over a large area by emitting light beams and measuring the frequency change of light reflected from particles in the atmosphere. “The light beams hit billions of aerosols travelling at the speed of the wind, i.e. dust particles, pollution, water droplets, etc. The rays are reflected back to the instrument showing changes in wave length, and the data from the rays are converted into estimations of what the turbine should produce, and whether it is facing the right direction,” says Yngve Ydersbond, Operations Analyst, Wind Power & Technologies in Statkraft.  “Previously, we could measure power curves, but it was not possible to measure how the wind hits the turbines, so that we could make adjustments. This is a great step forward,” Ydersbond says. 

Business advantage

The Lidar technology can be used both to determine where a wind turbine will be most effective, and to optimise production of existing wind turbines. “By using the Lidar technology we can identify deviations that may have major impact on production. We will be able to increase energy production significantly, by making only minor adjustments. Furthermore, the technology is easy to install, eliminating the need for wind measuring masts, which cost around 1.5 million Norwegian kroner each,” Ydersbond says.

Statkraft has already adopted the Lidar technology at offshore wind farms to optimise production (see video). The next project is planned for Baillie onshore wind farm in Scotland, and will measure power curves. 

Team Statkraft

Geir Asker represented Statkraft in the snowkite race at Hardangervidda, which has become a venue for professional kiters from across the world.