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The increasing global demand for the finite (and sometimes volatile) supply of fossil fuels has spurred large investments in renewable energy resources that are clean, reliable, and reduce the Nation's dependence on foreign oil. Wind and solar are the fastest growing sources of renewable electric energy-U. S. wind energy capacity increased by 45% from 2006 to 2007 amid the nearly 30% global increase, a trend that is expected to continue. Yet, renewable energy companies struggle to assess the reliability of wind-generated electricity at prospective sites, owing to wind's intermittent nature. We propose to greatly improve upon current wind energy prospecting techniques by creating prototype high-resolution dynamically downscaled wind analyses with NCAR's Climate Four Dimensional Data Assimilation System (ClimoFDDA), based upon the state-of-the-art WRF model. ClimoFDDA will use key NASA Earth science datasets to downscale the NASA MERRA global reanalyses to scales appropriate for assessing the wind variability for prospective wind farms (1-3 km). Innovative sampling strategies will be developed to generate the equivalent of a 20-year reanalysis for assessing seasonal to inter-annual. The impact of NASA datasets on dynamically downscaled winds will be quantified using ClimoFDDA for two different climate regimes in the U. S.: (1) coastal California and (2) the central Great Plains - both environments having great potential for wind-power production. The goal of this collaborative project is to improve the accuracy and efficiency of assessing the regional and temporal variability of low-level winds for wind-energy prospecting by incorporating high-resolution NASA Earth science datasets and new statistical techniques. Our focus is primarily falls under both Climate and Weather priority topic of the NASA ROSES 2008 solicitation, including the emphasized theme "Earth science applications to support weather-effected economic interests" with a specific focus on the development of new techniques for assessing renewable wind energy resources.
Project PI: Daran Rife/National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Center for Atmospheric Research P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO, USA 80307-3000
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