Environmental R&D targets high potential wind energy sites

Nov. 12, 2003 — As the efficiency, durability, and size of wind turbines have increased, wind power has become much more feasible in recent years. With these advances, U.S. power companies are stepping up efforts to produce efficient, clean wind energy and plans to install a total new capacity of 22,000 MW of wind power, or about 15,000 individual turbines.

Because the power produced is very sensitive to wind speed, the search for optimal high-wind locations is critical to the efficiency of wind turbines and the cost of wind power. ENSR International’s Research and Development (R&D) Program has developed the capability to assess the wind energy potential at any site within the US and its offshore waters.

In a key part of this project, ENSR scientists processed advanced meteorological data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration into a format that can be used with WindFarm* software. Using this application, ENSR scientists streamline the air modeling process and accurately simulate the wind energy conditions for a specified geographical location – thereby identifying the most promising sites for wind power development.

“This research will help power companies target the highest potential sites for cost-effective wind energy – and at a significant cost-savings with increased accuracy over traditional modeling approaches”, said meteorologist Robert Paine, who leads ENSR’s research and development on wind energy. Beyond the screening-level evaluation described above, ENSR also conducts site-specific monitoring using portable Doppler sodar and low-cost meteorological towers with redundant sensor placement for enhanced data capture.

For an example of wind energy modeling results using NOAA data and WindFarm software, contact (800) 722-2440 or www.ensr.com/request.

ENSR’s R&D Program has sponsored more than 90 innovative projects over the past 15 years. For more information about R&D projects, contact the Director of ENSR’s R&D Program, Dr. Michael Mills at (800) 722-2440 or www.ensr.com/request.

ENSR International (www.ensr.com) serves industrial and government agency clients with environmental and energy development solutions from 70 worldwide offices. ENSR was founded in 1968, and won Environmental Business Journal Achievement Awards in 2001 and 2002.

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