A 30-Year Wind Climatology off the Coast of Delaware From High-Resolution NWP

Author: Bryan K. Woods, Thomas Nehrkorn and John M. Henderson
January 25, 2012
92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Bryan Woods, T. Nehrkorn and J. M. Henderson. A 30-Year Wind Climatology off the Coast of Delaware From High-Resolution NWP. 92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting. January 25, 2012, New Orleans, LA.

As worldwide wind energy production continues to grow, developers are increasingly examining offshore areas for development. A detailed wind climatology is an integral part of any resource study as energy production is only viable when the wind speed is between cut-in and cut-out thresholds. Offshore on the outer continental shelf, where observations are typically extremely sparse, numerical weather modeling provides a method to gain insight into typical wind patterns to quantify wind energy potential. As the government agency responsible for issuing offshore leases, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has contracted with Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. (AER), and MMI Engineering to conduct a two phase modeling study to provide a full 30-year near-surface wind climatology off the coast of Delaware.

In the first phase of the project, in a sensitivity study, a limited number of downscaled WRF simulations are being run and tested against observations to determine the optimal model configuration for predicting offshore winds. Various boundary layer physics packages are being applied at 500 m horizontal and 10 min temporal resolution for several one-day simulations. The test cases were carefully chosen to test model performance.

In the second phase, a full 30-year climatology of wind resources offshore of Delaware will be generated by repeatedly sampling a limited simulation library. Every 5th day will be simulated over a 3-year period to represent high-resolution “typical” conditions. The full climatology will be built by matching the high-resolution fields to the reanalysis at every time in the 30-year climatology and sampling from the most similar modeled time. This complete climatology can serve as a guide for the feasibility of economical wind energy development in the region. A summary and results from the full sensitivity study and full climatology will be presented.