Eugene S. Takle, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University; Kristy C. Carter, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University


Iowa is a leader in wind power generation with more than 36% of the state’s electricity coming from wind energy as of 2016. Although the wind power industry continues to grow, uncertainties remain in wind-related characteristics at and above 80-m turbine hub height. Measurements of wind speed from two identically configured 120-m tall meteorological towers provided the necessary spatial and temporal resolution to explore and improve our understanding of wind characteristics in central Iowa above turbine hub height. This study analyzed data from the first year the towers were deployed, August 2016 to July 2017. The data helped to provide a general climatology of wind characteristics at the 120-m tower level. Monthly averages, maxima, minima, quantiles, and frequency plots were used to better understand and characterize wind resources above turbine hub height. Wind speed variations were compared with and without the influence of wind turbines from a large wind farm. The percentages of occurrence above the cut-in, cut-out and rated wind speeds provided insight on the potential performance of future, taller wind turbines. Weaker winds inside the wind farm lead to an increase in turbulence causing reductions in wind speed at 120-m. Using similar methods, the other heights on the towers can provide insight to wind characteristics that can be applied to other studies such as ones including agricultural environments.

Copyright Owner

Ashley Heath


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