4.4 Characterizing and Forecasting Complex-Terrain Flows for Wind Energy in the Columbia River Basin using Networks of Remote-Sensing Instrumentation

Monday, 27 June 2016: 4:00 PM
Adirondack ABC (Hilton Burlington )
Robert M. Banta, NOAA/ESRL, Boulder, CO

The Columbia River Basin to the east of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and Oregon is a region where a number of large wind farms exploit advantageous wind-flow conditions to generate electric power for nearby states, including California. These flows are either modified by or generated by interactions with the mountainous and otherwise complex topography. In this presentation we present examples of complex-terrain flows and estimates of accompanying power generation. The wind flows, which include channeled flow, gap flow, basin inversion breakup, topographic wakes, mountain waves, and others, were sampled with comprehensive networks of sensors, including surface in-situ meteorological stations, Doppler lidars, wind-profiling radars, sodars, radiometers, and others. The presented examples will illustrate procedures for using the instrument arrays to characterize the flows and how they affect wind-energy generation, will demonstrate the usefulness of these arrays in verifying current NOAA numerical forecast models, such as the RAP and HRRR, in real time, and will highlight challenges in forecasting turbine rotor-layer wind speeds on time scales needed by the wind energy industry.

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