09 November 2018

The Influence of Real-World Wind Turbine Deployments on Local to Mesoscale Climate

Science

Using year-long high-resolution (4-km) WRF simulations and actual wind turbine (WT) geolocations and aerodynamics we have quantified scale, magnitude & seasonality of the resulting impacts on near-surface climate. Using a Midwest nested domain we show the effects of WT in Iowa on local to mesoscale climate = modest & statistically significant only in summer.

Impact

Wind turbines (WT) extract kinetic energy & convert it to electrical power. Thus, some local disturbance of flow field & near-surface climate is inevitable. However, there is large uncertainty in the (1) Scale, magnitude & seasonality of effect. (2) Scaling with installed capacity. (3) Sensitivity to parameterization. This work reduces these uncertainties.

Summary

Effects of WT on near-surface climate are very small & have shown previous research inadvertently over-estimated effects by summer focus and/or unrealistic assumptions.

Contact
S.C. Pryor
Cornell University
Publications
Pryor, S, R Barthelmie, and T Shepherd.  2018.  "The Influence of Real-World Wind Turbine Deployments on Local to Mesoscale Climate."  Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123(11): 5804-5826, doi:10.1029/2017jd028114.