GIS provide a very flexible and powerful tool for terrain analysis relevant to wind energy prospecting. It can be used to reclassify the existing wind maps and to identify areas for meteorological measurements for possible wind farm sites. In addition, it can be used to quantify the wind power potential and, in conjunction with numerical models, to quantify the annual energy production.

Once a location is selected, then GIS and topomaps can be used in micrositing. The wind turbines should be located within the wind plant to maximize annual energy production. However, the 90 m resolution may not be detailed enough for micrositing in complex terrain. PNL used a technique of spline interpolation to fill in a finer grid from the 90 m data. Of course, if the DEM data at 10 m resolution are available, then the interpolation technique is not needed.

A number of numerical models for micrositing are available, and most run on a PC. More powerful programs for weather prediction and micrositing, which run on large computers or clusters of PCs, are also available. In general, these are commercial or the software package has to be purchased.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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