Winds generally up in North America and down in Europe
A renewable energy information service released wind performance maps for the third quarter of 2010 covering both Europe and North America. It is the first such map 3TIER has produced for Europe after strong interest in its analysis in North America. The maps reveal that much of North America experienced higher than average wind speeds during the quarter. Meanwhile most of Europe experienced normal or below normal wind speeds with the exception of the UK and other small pockets that saw significantly elevated wind speeds.
“The maps highlight how short-term weather patterns can significantly disrupt normal climatic expectations,” says 3TIER founder and CEO Kenneth Westrick. “This sort of retroactive analysis, on a location-specific basis, is valuable information for reconciling a wind project’s production over the quarter with actual atmospheric conditions to ensure the project is being operated at optimal levels.”
“While the performance maps clearly illustrate the variability of wind resources,” says Westrick, “the good news is that we have the scientific expertise and technology to account for the fluctuations, use them in a project’s financials, and forecast their occurrence with a considerable degree of certainty.”
View the maps at: http://www.3tier.com/en/docs/3tier_q3_2010_ws_variance.pdf
In Europe, a prolonged high-pressure system over Russia caused an extreme heat wave and depressed wind speeds. This blocking event also depressed wind speeds below their long-term averages across most of central and northern Europe. Nonetheless, isolated regions saw wind speeds 10% or more above average including the UK, southern Sweden, a band from the Balkans through Romania, and along the Mediterranean coast of France and northern Italy.
North America experienced a less patch-worked pattern, with wind speeds reaching 10% above average or more across a wide band from Texas through the Great Lakes into eastern Canada and the northeastern US. Likewise, most of the Intermountain region and Rocky Mountains also saw elevated wind speeds.
“We can assess with a high degree of accuracy, what the performance of a project or region will look like over a 40 year period as it is impacted both positively and negatively by normal climatic fluctuations,” says Westrick. “Banks, developers, and financial stakeholders look for sophisticated information services to provide an independent and objective quantification of the potential resource to understand long-term risk, and maximize power production and profitability.”
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