Wind Resource Maps and Wind Resource Potential
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Wind Program supported the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and AWS Truepower to develop a wind resource map for the United States to be used as a guide to identify locations for utility-scale wind development. The resulting high resolution wind map (right) shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at 80-meters height across the United States. The map is presented at a spatial resolution of 2.5 kilometers that is interpolated to a finer scale for display. Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 meters/second and greater at the 80 meter height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. Utility-scale, land-based wind turbines are typically installed between 80 and 100 meters high. (DOE Wind Powering America)
The DOE's Wind Program and the NREL have also developed an Average Annual Wind Speed at 80-meter height wind resource map for Nevada. This map indicates Nevada has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production. Good-to-excellent wind resources are located on the higher ridge crests throughout Nye County and the state.
In addition to the wind resource maps, Wind Resource Potential was estimated by the NREL. Windy land area and wind energy potential were estimated for each state using AWS Truepower's gross capacity factor data. This provides the most up to date estimate of how wind energy can support state and national needs. The State Wind Resource Potential table lists the estimates of windy land area with a gross capacity of 30% and greater at an 80-meter height and the wind energy potential from development of the "available" windy land area after exclusions.
For more information about the DOE Wind Program and the wind maps and wind potential estimates, visit http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp.
Due to Department of Defense operations at the Tonopah Test Range and Nevada Test and Training Range, it is highly recommended that potential wind developers consult the base early in their site identification process.
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate issues associated with wind energy development on lands administered by the BLM in the western United States. The Wind Energy Final PEIS was published in June 2005, and the Record of Decision "Implementation of a Wind Energy Development Program and Associated Land Use Plan Amendments" was published in December 2005.
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