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Wind Power Maps
Mar 12, 2010 - windpowermaps.org
Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (NWSEED) launched the Northwest Wind Mapping Project in mid 2001 in partnership with the Last Mile Electric Cooperative, a group of rural public utilities working to develop cost-based wind generation. Taking a leap of faith, the Northwest Cooperative Development Center agreed to be fiscal host for the mapping project when just partial funding was committed. Fortunately, numerous public agencies, utilities, private wind developers and turbine manufacturers, consulting firms, and other non-profit organizations came on board to co-sponsor the effort.
The wind atlas previously available for the region was based on old data and methods which under-estimated and overstated resources for specific locations. The computer techniques used to develop the new maps will provide important data for daily and seasonal wind patterns, which can be compared to other resources and loads to identify the most valuable areas. Through CDROM data and a zoom-in web interface, the maps will greatly aid rural communities in exploring opportunities to harness wind energy.
Overlays adding extra value will include transmission and distribution systems, sensitive wilderness and cultural areas, and utility service territories. Although the maps will not eliminate the need for on-site wind resource measurement for large-scale installations, they will help utilities and developers screen out less promising areas, significantly minimizing the cost and timing of prospecting. They will also help landowners make a first-cut determination of the feasibility of installing distributed wind turbines to supply power on-site.
The maps will be widely disseminated as glossy color posters to all libraries, utilities, county commissions, community action agencies and extension offices throughout the 6-state region as well as via e-mail and hotlinks on numerous high-traffic web sites.
Wind Maps and Interactive Zoom Tool
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