Wind speed variance from average across the United States for all of 2009 (above) and for the last quarter of the year (below).
3TIER was released a number of interesting maps and simulations for the renewable energy industry in the past, and now have released another set. They show how average wind speeds in the US have varied because of El Niño, and how this has contributed to changes in the wind power production in several areas. The takeway being that this particular variability is predictable and ought to be figured into assessment of where to site new wind power projects:
In its press announcement of the maps, 3TIER's Dr Jim McCaa said, "The maps provide an indication of how wind farms should have performed relative to their expected production capacity on a geographic basis, and are consistent with forecasts throughout the year."
McCaa added, "These modeling techniques can be used proactively to develop more geographically diversified wind portfolios to counter normal climatic fluctuations like El Niño. The long-term climatic variability of individual wind projects can also be predicted to develop more realistic financial models and integration scenarios.
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