417 Mountains, bays and ocean: The complexity of Mid-Atlantic physiography and implications for wind resource assessment and economics

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Scott D. Rabenhorst, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and B. Baker, L. C. Sparling, and D. Ancona

The Mid-Atlantic is a challenging region for wind resource assessment due to diverse topography and land surface characteristics. This unique geographic location provides local forcing from the Appalachian Mountains, urban areas, and land-sea thermal contrasts from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays and Atlantic coast. Even in the absence of significant synoptic forcing, these local circulations have been observed to generate strong low-level winds. This presentation will give some examples of how downslope winds, low level jets and sea/bay breezes interact to produce some remarkable low level wind regimes which may have potential for wind energy. However, correctly forecasting the timing, location, and magnitude of these low-level flows remains a challenge for numerical weather prediction models. We will discuss the challenges in mesoscale modeling in the Mid-Atlantic and show comparisons between observations and simulations with different model resolutions and physics schemes to identify the most important model uncertainties. We also discuss the economic value implications of the temporal and spatial wind uncertainty at several prospective locations for a modeled 100 megawatt wind power plant feeding power into the existing Regional Transmission Organization.
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