The wind energy industry is a key component of the U.S. drive toward greater use of renewable energy. Improving numerical weather prediction models and obtaining accurate real-time weather data are keys in predicting turbine performance and optimizing wind farm output. Most planned and installed wind farms are within the coverage area of one or more WSR-88D radars and, therefore, can take advantage of the many products produced by the radar system. The new dual polarization capability will enable more accurate and specific observations and nowcasts of freezing and frozen precipitation, hail, and bird migration. The WSR-88D is capable of detecting subtle weather boundaries even in clear air, such as dry lines and thunderstorm outflow boundaries. These passing boundaries produce changes in atmospheric density and wind speed and direction that affect the power output of a wind farm. In addition, WSR-88D data can be used to initialize wind forecast models and by forecast service companies for their consideration during ramp events.
This presentation and resulting manuscript will: (1) Provide a very brief overview of the WSR-88D and network; (2) describe radar-generated products and data that could be most useful to the wind energy industry; and (3) provide examples of new dual polarization data and products that might further help in forecasts and nowcasts of conditions that could impact wind energy production.