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Spatial and Temporal Distribution of U.S. Winds and Windpower at 80 m Derived from Measurements

This is a study to quantify U.S. wind power at 80 m (the hub height of large wind turbines) and to investigate whether winds from a network of farms can provide a steady and reliable source of electric power. Data from 1327 surface stations and 87 soundings in the United States for the year 2000 were used. Several methods were tested to extrapolate 10-m wind measurements to 80 m. The most accurate, a least-squares fit based on twice-a-day wind profiles from the soundings, resulted in 80-m wind speeds that are, on average, 1.3-1.7 m/s faster than those obtained from the most common methods previously used to obtain elevated data for U.S. windpower maps, a logarithmic law and a power law, both with constant coefficients. The implication is that U.S. windpower at 80 m is enormous and much greater than previously thought. It was found that 25.2 percent of all stations (and 44.6 percent of all coastal/offshore stations) are characterized by mean annual speeds >= 6.9 m/s at 80 m, implying that the winds over possibly one quarter of the U.S. are strong enough to provide electric power at a direct cost equal to that of a new natural gas or coal power plant. The greatest previously uncharted reservoir of windpower in the continental U.S. is offshore and near shore along the southeastern and southern coasts. The other great reservoirs, previously charted, are the north- and south-central regions.

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Date Of Record Release 2009-03-13 14:09:57
Description This is a study to quantify U.S. wind power at 80 m (the hub height of large wind turbines) and to investigate whether winds from a network of farms can provide a steady and reliable source of electric power. Data from 1327 surface stations and 87 soundings in the United States for the year 2000 were used. Several methods were tested to extrapolate 10-m wind measurements to 80 m. The most accurate, a least-squares fit based on twice-a-day wind profiles from the soundings, resulted in 80-m wind speeds that are, on average, 1.3-1.7 m/s faster than those obtained from the most common methods previously used to obtain elevated data for U.S. windpower maps, a logarithmic law and a power law, both with constant coefficients. The implication is that U.S. windpower at 80 m is enormous and much greater than previously thought. It was found that 25.2 percent of all stations (and 44.6 percent of all coastal/offshore stations) are characterized by mean annual speeds >= 6.9 m/s at 80 m, implying that the winds over possibly one quarter of the U.S. are strong enough to provide electric power at a direct cost equal to that of a new natural gas or coal power plant. The greatest previously uncharted reservoir of windpower in the continental U.S. is offshore and near shore along the southeastern and southern coasts. The other great reservoirs, previously charted, are the north- and south-central regions.
Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Source American Geophysical Union NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
Date Of Record Creation 2009-03-13 14:03:47
Education Level
Date Last Modified 2010-04-28 19:12:02
Creator Archer, C. L. Jacobson, M. Z.
Language English
Date Record Checked: 2009-03-13 00:00:00 (W3C-DTF)

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