Finally, the WIND Toolkit helps eliminate any guesswork by wind energy advocates regarding newly proposed wind farm projects. Using the old 50 meter, 80 meter or 100 meter wind speed maps use to be the only way the public had any sense of what “good” wind resources looked like. However, those maps always proved too coarse for the average viewer to interpret accurately. Anti-wind activists frequently used outdated maps, some even dating back to the 1980s, to make a case against wind energy. The WIND Toolkit can now provide better analysis for stakeholders interested in learning more about wind energy. As a quick case study, the image below shows the results of the WIND Toolkit query compared to a 100 meter wind speed map in Northeastern North Carolina. The WIND Toolkit shows an average wind speed of approximately 7 meters-per-second (15.7 MPH), but the 100 meter wind map shows speeds of <6 m/s (13.4MPH). That 1 m/s difference results in the difference between a 30% capacity factor and a 40% capacity factor, based on the WIND Toolkit's power curve. In real terms, that is a 33% improvement in capacity factor. North Carolina's first wind farm recently broke ground in that region, and reports suggest average capacity factors of that wind farm to be near 40% – very similar to the results of the WIND Toolkit.
Georgia Tech’s Center for Geographic Information Systems and Strategic Energy Institute has partnered with the Georgia DNR Coastal Resources Division to launch a new marine planning application called the Georgia Coastal and Marine Planner (GCAMP). GCAMP provides online access to data regarding coastal and ocean resources, which can help facilitate Georgia’s management of these resources in regards to offshore wind energy.
Enjoy SACE’s Wired In newsletter for the month of February, where staff provides updates on energy issues across the Southeast.
Yesterday, South Carolina reached a major milestone in advancing potential offshore wind energy development in years to come. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the federal regulator that oversees offshore wind development, announced plans to publish two major documents that close in on eventual offshore wind leasing. The two documents are a Notice of [...]
UPDATE: This post was updated to reflect the addition of the Bald Head Island public information meeting on October 6. After a multi-year process of identifying where offshore wind farms might be developed off the coast of North Carolina, federal regulators have concluded that initial activities involved with site studies will have negligible environmental impacts. [...]
Wind energy prices have dropped substantially over the past five years and wind power prices are now regularly in the $0.02-$0.035 per kilowatt hour range ($20-$35/MWh). As turbines improve performance and manufacturers reduce costs, utilities are beginning to naturally and voluntarily prefer wind power as an energy resource. Researchers and manufacturers are hard at work to ensure wind turbine performance and costs continue to drop in the near future. Listed below are just a few innovations the wind industry is testing and preparing for primetime.
For utility companies, grid operators and other stakeholders interested in wind energy integration, collecting large quantities of high quality data on wind energy resources is vitally important. However, collecting such data has previously been limited by time constraints, budget constraints, or technical expertise. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and Vaisala By 3Tier recently published the Wind Integration National Dataset (WIND) Toolkit. Peer-reviewed, and published in the scientific journal Applied Energy, the newly released WIND Toolkit by NREL is the largest, publicly available wind energy dataset, ever. The WIND Toolkit is user-friendly way for anyone to quickly evaluate the viability of utility-scale wind energy resources, and download the data necessary for wind energy grid integration analysis.
Virginia is currently home to at least six wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 500 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Virginia. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs.
This is the seventh post in a blog series discussing state-by-state highlights of wind energy throughout the South in the lead up to the WINDPOWER Expo in Orlando, FL, May 18 – 21. See the rest of the series here. New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities in South Carolina. Taller turbines [...]
The Executive Order is widely seen as a boon to the United States’ offshore wind energy industry. The Obama Administration approved the nation’s first offshore wind farm, the Cape Wind project, off Massachusetts in 2008; however, the project has stalled. Clark Kent, White House spokesman, stated that, “The Crown Estate – which manages the entire seabed around the United Kingdom out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, has a rigorous offshore wind energy development policy that could quickly be harmonized with the United States OCS area.” He noted that offshore wind farms already provide more than 3% of the United Kingdom’s electricity. The Executive Order would also eliminate the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the federal agency in charge of managing all federal waters offshore. “Some may be opposed to the sale and the disbandment of BOEM, but it’s not like we had an effective offshore wind energy policy anyway. We figure, let’s let the Brits have a go at it,” said Kent.