Sunday, 22 January 2012
Statistical Analysis of Wind Farm Terrain
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Within the last few decades, increasing emphasis has been place on the development of wind farming infrastructure to generate electricity in a clean, renewable, and efficient manner. The purpose of this research project is to analyze the effect of terrain on the placement of wind farms through exploratory statistical analysis of several terrain variables on presently built wind farm locations within the United States. Specifically, terrain can have a strong effect on both the wind flow over that area and the viability of placing a wind farm in that area. This research would allow one to create an understanding of the effect of terrain on the placement wind farms that exist in vastly different terrain, thus allowing a wind energy planner to incorporate areas that local models may not be able to handle effectively. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used to process the terrain data so that statistical tests can be preformed. Terrain data is derived through manipulation of the National Elevation Database Digital Elevation Models using 30 meter resolution. Slope, aspect, curvature, roughness, and elevation are analyzed on multiple scales. Wind farm locations include Cerro Gordo Wind Energy Center in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, Waymart Wind Farm in Wayne County, Pennsylvania and Big Horn Wind Farm in Klickitat County, Washington. Descriptive statistics are compared and the results discussed.