The Department of Energy’s Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a wind resource map for the state of Washington. The resource map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at 80-m height. Presented at a spatial resolution of about 2 km (interpolated to a finer scale for display). Areas with annual average wind speeds about 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development.
Additionally, a national dataset was produced of estimated gross capacity factor (not adjusted for losses) at a spatial resolution of 200 m and heights of 80 m and 100 m. Using AWS Truepower’s gross-capacity factors, NREL estimated the windy land area and wind energy potential in various capacity factor ranges for each state. The table lists the estimates of windy land area with a gross capacity of 30% and greater at 80-m height and the wind energy potential from development of the “available” windy land area after exclusions.
The Installed Capacity is the potential megawatts (MW) of rated capacity that could be installed on the available windy land area, and Annual Generation is the estimated annual wind energy generation in gigawatt-hours (GWh) that could be produced from the installed capacity. NREL reduced the wind potential estimates by excluding areas unlikely to be developed such as wilderness areas, parks, urban areas, and water features (see Wind Resource Exclusion Table for more detail). Additional wind potential tables are included for various capacity factor ranges.
The accompanying chart (left of the map) shows the wind-resource potential above a given gross capacity factor at 80-m and 100-m heights for Washington.
These maps and wind potential estimates come from a collaborative project between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and AWS Truepower of Albany, New York. This is the first comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state since 1993. NREL has worked with AWS Truepower for almost a decade updating wind resource maps for 36 states and producing validated maps for 50-meter height above ground. U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America project supported the mapping efforts.
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