Monday, February 6, 2012

Simulating impacts of wind farms on local hydrometeorology - U of IL

Simulating impacts of wind farms on local hydrometeorology, a paper by Somnath Roy of the University of Illinois

"Wind power is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world, most of the growth being in large wind farms that are often located on agricultural land near residential communities. This study explores the possible impacts of such wind farms on local hydrometeorology using a mesoscale model equipped with a rotor parameterization based on data from a commercial wind turbine. Results show that wind farms significantly affect near-surface air temperature and humidity as well as surface sensible and latent heat fluxes. The signs of the impacts, i.e., increase or decrease, depend on the static stability and total water mixing ratio lapse rates of the atmosphere. The magnitudes of these impacts are not only constrained by the hub-height wind speed but also depend to some extent on the size of the wind farms. Wind farms also affect the hydrometeorology of an area up to 18–23 km downwind. More work is required to conclusively estimate the length-scale of wind farm wakes. This study is one of the first few to provide realistic estimates of possible impacts of wind farms. The model developed and used in this study can help in assessing and addressing the environmental impacts of wind farms thereby ensuring the long-term sustainability of wind power. "

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