SWEP member and PhD student Mike Dvorak has done extensive work using the Fifth-Generation NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)/Penn State Mesoscale Model (MM5) to map out the winds in the Bay Area. Based on his results, the group had identified potential locations for siting two wind towers (10m and 50m). The report can be downloaded here.
To help validate the modeling results from Mike's work, SWEP member Katie Davis compared the model output at 10m to real data collected by meteorological towers (such as those at nearby airports) at 10m. If the results were similar, then there is a high level of confidence in the model outputs for winds at 80m (the normal hub height of wind turbines). Overall, the MM5 model output matched the real data fairly well; the timing of the winds were very accurate, but the magnitude was sometimes a bit off. As a result, the MM5 model is a fairly reliable tool for assessing the wind resource in the Bay Area. A summary of Katie's work is available by clicking on the link below.
While land for siting the group's wind towers is not available at the most ideal sites in the Bay (as identified by Mike's modeling), the group is currently looking into two suitable locations near campus. SWEP is currently in discussions with the municipalities at these locations to work collaboratively on siting and installing the towers. SWEP member and PhD Bethany Corcoran is heading up this project. More information will be provided as these potential relationships develop.