Wind power development in Minnesota largely has been focused in the "windy" southwestern part of the state. This research evaluates the additional power that potentially could be generated via low wind speed turbines, particularly for areas of the state where there has been comparatively little wind energy investment. Data consist of 3 years (2002-2004) of wind speed measurements at 70-75 m above ground level, at four sites representing the range of wind speed regimes (Classes 2-5) found in Minnesota. Power estimates use three configurations of the General Electric 1.5-MW series turbine that vary in rotor diameter and in cut-in, cut-out, and rated speeds. Results show that lower cut-in, cut-out, and rated speeds, and especially the larger rotor diameters, yield increases of 15-30% in wind power potential at these sites. Gains are largest at low wind speed (Class 2) sites and during the summer months at all four sites. Total annual wind power at each site shows some year-to-year variability, with peaks at some sites partially compensating for lulls at others. Such compensation does not occur equally in all years: when large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns are strong (e.g., 2002), the four sites show similar patterns of above- and below-average wind power, somewhat reducing the ability of geographic dispersion to mitigate the effects of wind speed variability.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.
- Low wind speed turbine
- Wind power