On the Use of Power Laws for Estimates of Wind Power Potential

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  • a Corvallis Environmental Research Laboratory, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331
  • | b Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331
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Abstract

The evaluation of wind power potential at a proposed aerogenerator site by extrapolation from measured winds at a reference level is investigated. It is shown that the total mean wind power density is not particularly sensitive to the selection of roughness length or power law exponent; over the entire likely range of these parameters the wind power in the mean flow at typical aerogenerator hub heights is within 1.4–4 times the power at a reference height of about 10 m. In lieu of in situ profile measurements, it is suggested that a power law exponent of 1/7 is adequate for realistic but conservative estimates of the available wind power except at extremely rough sites where the estimates may only be conservative.

Abstract

The evaluation of wind power potential at a proposed aerogenerator site by extrapolation from measured winds at a reference level is investigated. It is shown that the total mean wind power density is not particularly sensitive to the selection of roughness length or power law exponent; over the entire likely range of these parameters the wind power in the mean flow at typical aerogenerator hub heights is within 1.4–4 times the power at a reference height of about 10 m. In lieu of in situ profile measurements, it is suggested that a power law exponent of 1/7 is adequate for realistic but conservative estimates of the available wind power except at extremely rough sites where the estimates may only be conservative.

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