The new global “wind atlas” promotes sustainable energy for all parts of the world

Cornell University wind energy scientists have released a new wind atlas from around the world – a digital compendium of documented extreme wind speeds for all parts of the world – to help engineers select turbines in any region and accelerate sustainable energy development.

This wind atlas is the first publicly available, uniform and geospatially explicit (location-related data set) description of extreme wind speed, according to a study published in the January 25, 2021 study, A Global Assessment of Extreme Wind Speeds for Wind Energy Applications. . , in Energy of Nature.

“Increasing the profitability of the wind energy industry allows access to this newly released digital atlas in extreme wind conditions where wind turbines will operate in locations around the world,” said professor Sara C. Pryor. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, author of the article by Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Sibley Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Both are fellows at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

“This type of information will ensure the proper selection of wind turbines for specific deployments,” Pryor said, “and will help ensure efficient and reliable generation of electricity from these turbines.”

Knowing the extreme wind speed is key to cost efficiency for turbine design, proper turbine selection, and structural integrity at any site, the researchers said. Previously, in many places, extreme wind load calculations of projects were uncertain due to the limited measures taken on site.

At the end of 2019, the installed global wind turbine had more than 651 gigawatts (GW), according to the paper, thanks to the recently built 60 GW – almost 90% of which was put on the ground. “Thus, wind now generates more than 1,700 terawatt hours per year or about 7.5% of the world’s electricity supply,” Pryor said.

Barthelmie and Pryor report that the United States has 17% of the current installed capacity of wind energy, while Europe (31%) and China (36%) have more.

Pryor said there are currently wind turbines that generate carbon-free electricity in more than 90 countries.

The development of the research product was driven by the needs of the wind energy industry, Barthelmi said. Quantifying extreme winds can also be useful in civil engineering applications and in the analysis of the structural reliability of high-rise buildings and transportation systems — including long-distance bridges — as well as in the generation and distribution of electricity.

Pryor said: “Further expansion of the profitability of the wind energy industry will allow access to this newly released digital atlas.”

Reference: Sara A C. Pryor and Rebecca J. Barthelmie, January 25, 2021, “Global Assessment of Extreme Wind Wind Speeds”. Energy of Nature.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41560-020-00773-7

Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0016438 and DE-SC0016605) and was conducted on the National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) computational resources (award: TG-ATM170024).

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