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Wind Energy

Resource, Advantages, and


Dr. Richard Nelson

Engineering Extension
Renewable Resources
and Technologically Viable End-
Wind - electricity and No Greenhouse Gas Emissions
hydrogen production

Insurance Against
Conventional Fossil-
based Price Risk No Sulfur Dioxide (SO2),
Nitrous Oxide (NOx), or
Mercury Emissions
Why Wind Energy?
Wind, for now, is the renewable energy resource/technology of choice

“Free” resource

A “clean” resource due to:

 Replacement of a “dirty” energy source (coal) and,
 No emissions associated with its use

Can be utilized on underutilized land or on lands currently in

commodity crop production (“harvest” on the surface and “harvest”
above the surface)

Will primarily be used for electricity generation for

immediate end-use or as a “driver” for hydrogen
Energy Production and the Environment
Energy use in power plants accounts for:

 67% of air emissions of SO2, the primary cause of acid rain. SO2
causes acidification of lakes and damages forests and other

 25% of NOx, which causes smog and respiratory ailments.

 33% of Hg (mercury), a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin which

increases in concentration as it moves up the food chain, e.g.
from fish to birds, causing serious deformities and nerve
SOURCES: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Wind Energy
No air emissions
No fuel to mine, transport,
or store
No cooling water
No water pollution
No wastes
Wind Resources in the United States
 Wind resources are characterized by wind-
power density classes, ranging from class 1 (the
lowest) to class 7 (the highest).

 Good wind resources (class 3 and above) which

have an average annual wind speed of at least
13 miles per hour, are found along the east
coast, the Appalachian Mountain chain, the
Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and some
other locations.
Wind Resources in the United States
 Wind speed is a critical feature of wind resources, because the
energy in wind is proportional to the cube of the wind speed.
Kansas Wind Potential
Kansas is one of the three best
wind states in the country
Total “windy” land equals more
than 108,000 square kilometers
(about 1/2 of state)
Total Energy Potential = 1.07
trillion kWh or 121,900 MWa
Most of that potential probably won’t
be developed . . .
Wind Energy Basics

Physical & Engineering

Wind Power Equation
P = ½ * air density * Area Swept by Rotor * Wind Speed3

P=½* ρ *A*V 3

1) Power in the wind is correlated 1:1 with area and is extremely sensitive to wind speed (the cubic amplifies the power

2) If the wind speed is twice as high, it contains 23 = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 times as much energy

3) A site with 16 mph average wind speed will generate nearly 50% more electricity and be more cost effective than one with 14
mph average wind speed (16*16*16) / (14*14*14) = 1.4927

4) Therefore, it “pay$” to hunt for good wind sites with better wind speeds
Energy from the Wind
 Turbine output drives wind economics and output is a strong function of wind speed
 Wind speed increases with height above the ground
 Power = 1/2 × (air density) × (area) × (wind speed) ³

 Energy in the wind increases as height increases (theoretically)

V2/V1 = (H2/H1)1/7
Wind Turbines
Turbines: Different Sizes and Application

Small (≤ 10 kW)
• Homes (Grid-connected) Intermediate
• Farms
• Remote Applications (10-500 kW)
• Village Power
(e.g. battery changing, water
pumping, telecom sites) • Hybrid Systems
• Distributed Power

Large (500 kW – 5 MW)

• Central Station Wind Farms
• Distributed Power
• Offshore Wind
Large Wind Systems
 Range in size from
100 kW to 5 MW

 Provide wholesale
bulk power

 Require 13-mph
average wind sites
Technology Overview
Large Wind Projects
Over 98-99% availability

Can deliver power for less than 5 cents/kWh (with

Production Tax Credit) in many locations

~6,000 MW to be installed nationwide at end of 2003

In 2004, will generate about 3x Vermont’s total use

Typical Turbine Size
1.3 to 1.8 MW rated capacity
Rotor diameter 60 to 80 meters
Tower height 60 to 80 meters
Turbine footprint 10 m x 10 m

245-330 ft. TIP

165-220 ft TOWER
Lowest ground clearance is at
least 100 ft.

Apx. 100 ft.

Next Generation Wind
Wind Turbine Schematic
Nacelle for 1.65-MW turbine
Cross section of blade for 1.65-MW turbine
Quantifying Wind Power Performance
99% Availability

>90% Operating Time*

30 – 40% Capacity Factor

* Lake Benton, Minnesota Analysis of Windfarm Operation

Expected Output/Capacity Factor
 The capacity factor is simply the wind turbine's
actual energy output for the year divided by the
energy output if the machine operated at its
rated power output for the entire year

 A reasonable capacity factor would be 0.25 to

0.30. A very good capacity factor would be 0.40

 Capacity factor is very sensitive to the

average wind speed
Power Curves

The turbine would produce about 20% of its rated power at an average wind speed of
15 miles per hour (or 20 kilowatts if the turbine was rated at 100 kilowatts).
Operating Characteristics
of Wind Turbines
“Value” of Wind Energy
 The value of a wind turbine or wind farm
depends upon many factors

wind speed = f(location, terrain)
cost of competing energy source
rate structure of competing energy source
Wind Insures Against
Fuel Price Risk
 Platts “conservatively  Value of domestic fuel
estimates that source (wind) would
generating electricity have a direct benefit
from renewable on the
sources can ultimately
save consumers more
than $5/MWh (1/2¢  Wind energy “Fuel” is
per kW-h) by inflation-proof;
therefore impervious
eliminating fuel price to fuel price hikes
*4/8/03 announcement re “Power Price
Stability: What’s it Worth?”
Wind - Natural Gas Comparison
Wind Natural Gas
Low Operating Cost High Operating Costs
High Capital Cost
Low Capital Cost
No Fuel Supply/Cost Risk Dispatchable
No Emissions Fuel Supply/Cost Risk
Smog, Greenhouse
Gas Emissions
Wind Power Costs
Wind Speed
Assuming the same
size project (total MW
installed), the better
the wind resource, the
lower the cost; capture
more energy for the
same capital/ installed/
maintenance cost
Wind Power Costs
Project Size

Assuming the
same wind speed,
a larger wind farm
is more
associated with
wind farm
Wind Power Isn’t Perfect
 Wind Power output varies over time; it isn’t dispatchable

 Wind Power is location-dependent (rural vs. urban where it

is needed most)

 Wind Power is transmission-dependent for tie-in to the


 Wind Power has environmental impacts (pro / con)

 Wind Power can only meet part of the electrical load

Common Misunderstandings
Wind turbines are
only generating
electricity about
one third of the

Wind turbines generate

electricity essentially all
the time, but only at their
rated capacity about 30-
40% of the time
Wind Web Sites