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Study suggests Minnesota has more potential for wind energy

Average wind speeds in northwestern Minnesota are highest during October whereas in the south of the state they are strongest in March and April. The least windy month for the entire state appears to be August.

A new study suggests there is more wind in Minnesota, and more potential to harness it, than previously estimated, state commerce officials said.

The report shows that regions in northwestern, western and southern Minnesota have higher average wind speeds than a 2002 study indicated.

The windiest part of Minnesota is along the Buffalo Ridge in the southwest, where most of the state's wind farms are located. But new data show that wind projects are feasible across a much broader, L-shaped swath of the state, according to Mike Bull, assistant commerce commissioner.

"We hope wind projects will be anchors to the rural economy," Bull said Tuesday.

Average wind speeds in northwestern Minnesota are highest during October whereas in the south of the state they are strongest in March and April. The least windy month for the entire state appears to be August.

Last year, the Legislature passed a law to help communities establish wind projects to retain energy money that otherwise would go elsewhere. Gov. Tim Pawlenty set a goal of 800 megawatts of new community-based wind energy by 2010, Bull said.

Projects might range from single wind machines at schools or in cities to a network of dozens of wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A new study suggests there is more wind in Minnesota, and more potential to harness it, than previously estimated, state commerce officials said.

The report shows that regions in northwestern, western and southern Minnesota have higher average wind speeds than a 2002 study indicated.

The windiest part of Minnesota is along the Buffalo Ridge in the southwest, where most of the state's wind farms are located. But new data show that wind projects are feasible across a much broader, L-shaped swath of the state, according to Mike Bull, assistant commerce commissioner.

"We hope wind projects will be anchors to the rural economy," Bull said Tuesday.

Average wind speeds in northwestern Minnesota are highest during October whereas in the south of the state they are strongest in March and April. The least windy month for the entire state appears to be August.

Last year, the Legislature passed a law to help communities establish wind projects to retain energy money that otherwise would go elsewhere. Gov. Tim Pawlenty set a goal of 800 megawatts of new community-based wind energy by 2010, Bull said.

Projects might range from single wind machines at schools or in cities to a network of dozens of wind generators in southern Minnesota with lines connecting to the Twin Cities, he said.

John Dunlop, senior outreach representative for the American Wind Energy Association, called the new study a "quantum leap in science."

In 1982, when Dunlop worked on the first wind maps as a state employee, the calculations were based on a few measurements atop 30-meter towers and extrapolated across the state, he said. The latest study, done under contract by WindLogics Inc. of St. Paul for $205,000, used data and modeling to represent the three-dimensional nature of the atmosphere.

"That means you can predict quite reliably the wind potential in areas where we don't even have wind resource monitoring stations, such as northwestern Minnesota," Dunlop said.

Dunlop said a one-megawatt wind machine can typically power about 330 average homes in Minnesota.

Modelers measured the speeds at 80 meters, or 262 feet, rather than the previous height of 70 meters. The new maps also show how winds change on a monthly basis.

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Source: http://www.wctrib.com/ap/in...

FEB 1 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1138-study-suggests-minnesota-has-more-potential-for-wind-energy
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