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Uncertainty of Wind Power Usage in Complex Terrain—A Case Study

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DOI: 10.4236/acs.2015.53017    2,439 Downloads   3,014 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the uncertainty assessing wind-power production in valleys of complex terrain using Juneau, Alaska as the testbed. The wind-speed data stem from evaluated WRF/Chem simulations for seven tourist seasons (May 15 to September 15). The percentage of wind speeds between cut-in and cutout speed differed up to about 11% among tourist seasons and up to 15% among the examined wind-turbine types. The wind-speed probability density varied the strongest among tourist seasons for wind speeds less than 3 m·s-1 (6 m·s-1) for wind turbines with hub heights of about 80 m (30 m). At these heights, the interannual differences in the probability density of wind speeds at the rated or higher power were about half or less than those at wind speeds below 3 m·s-1 (6 m·s-1). The predicted average power output notably differed among tourist seasons. The tall (small) turbines had their highest predicted average production in 2006 (2012). The ranking among wind turbines regarding the predicted average power production was independent of the interannual variability in average power production. Capacity factors differed about 8% (6%) for the tall (small) tubines among tourist seasons. Within the same tourist season, capacity factors differed about 8% (5%) among turbine types. Estimates of capacity and potential power derived from 10 m wind-speed observations by an empirical formula commonly used to estimate wind speeds at hub height, differed up to 40% for 80 m height for some turbine types. Determinating the exponent of the empirical equation by means of WRF/Chem data showed that the traditional empirical approach failed in complex terrain.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Mölders, N. , Khordakova, D. , Gende, S. and Kramm, G. (2015) Uncertainty of Wind Power Usage in Complex Terrain—A Case Study. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 5, 228-244. doi: 10.4236/acs.2015.53017.

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