Eighth Symposium on the Urban Environment
The Energy Committee


Application of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model for the planning and operation of wind plants

Larry K. Berg, PNNL, Richland, WA; and J. D. Fast, J. E. Flaherty, W. I. Gustafson, and W. J. Shaw

The successful development and operation of wind plants depends on the accurate description of the local winds over a range of spatial and temporal scales. A number of different modeling tools can be used for these efforts, including a full-physics model, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. But, as with all full-physics models such as WRF, simulations in regions of complex terrain can have significant amounts of uncertainty, and results can be sensitive to both the methods used to parameterize turbulence, the horizontal and vertical grid spacing, and the representation of model initial and boundary conditions.

This presentation will describe a number of relevant issues related to the use of mesoscale meteorological models for the planning and operation of wind plants. In previous work, we have evaluated the model skill at predicating low-level winds in a number of geographic areas with both simple and complex terrain. However, this work has focused on comparisons with data from intensive short-duration field campaigns that may not be completely relevant for wind plants. One way to address this issue is to identify long-term, high quality data sets.

One such site is the US Department of Energy's Hanford Site. It is an ideal location for evaluating the performance of the WRF model for both general prognosis of the local winds, as would be appropriate for a wind resource characterization, and evaluating the performance of WRF model during severe wind events. Recently, wind plants have been installed in southeastern Washington State, near the Hanford Site. The topography in this region is dominated by a number of significant ridges around a central basin, and severe wind events are frequent, especially during the springtime. The Hanford Meteorological Monitoring Network, which consists of 30 stations, including a station near the top of Rattlesnake Mountain (approximately 1 km above the basin floor), a 120 m tower near the center of the basin, and three 60 m towers, was developed to provide real time support to activities around the Hanford Site. The network has been operational and data has been calibrated and archived for more than 60 years, providing a high-quality long-term observations for these studies.

Joint Session 22, Modeling Tools for Energy Production in Urban and Complex Terrain
Thursday, 15 January 2009, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM, Room 124A

Next paper

Browse or search entire meeting

AMS Home Page