Texas Environmental Energy Group Inc.

(This wind turbine produces enough electricity for over 300 homes in Texas.)
WIND POWER   

Characterization of the Resource
Vast areas with high wind power potential exist in Texas. Figures 6 and 7 on this page show average annual wind power for the United States and Texas. Wind power is categorized according to Wind Power Class. Wind class 1 (light blue) denotes very light winds; higher numbers indicate stronger winds. In the United States, wind farms are presently built on tracts with winds of class 5 (orange) and higher. Technology currently being developed should make class 4 (yellow) wind regimes viable. Eventually, even class 3 (green) wind regimes are expected to be capable of supporting utility-scale ventures.

The U.S. map was assembled by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) from available measured wind data. In many areas there were no measured data. To address this shortcoming, PNL scientists partitioned the country into thousands of uniformly sized pieces and to each piece assigned a constant value for wind class. This is what gives the map its jagged, "pixelized" appearence.
 



notice the wind generators in the back on the hill - more to come!

 


The Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) at West Texas A&M University constructed the improved resolution Texas wind map as a refinement of the PNL map. It incorporates additional ground exposure information. A hilltop, for example, will experience stronger winds than the base of a valley. The AEI used elevation and prevailing wind data to compute exposure and reclassify wind power throughout the state.

While helpful, this technique is not a precise tool. Some areas on the map may, with improved data, turn out to be windier than indicated, while others may be worse. Overall, the reclassified map simply identifies promising regions in which to focus future assessment activities and development; the true potential of a specific site can only be determined from long-term, quality measurements.

The Texas map identifies three major areas with good wind power potential: the Great Plains, the Gulf Coast, and specific ridgetops and mountain passes throughout the Trans-Pecos. The electric generation potential of the windy areas of Texas is summarized in Table 3, below. These values reflect exclusions for various technical and environmental constraints. The table points out that Texas contains enough class 4 resource to produce all of the electricity currently consumed in the state. Even when utilizing only class 5 and 6 lands, wind power could generate a significant portion of the state's electricity.
TABLE 3. Potential Electricity Production on Windy Lands in Texas
 


WIND POWER CLASS
AREA (km2)
PERCENT OF STATE LAND
POTENTIAL CAPACITY (MW)
POTENTIAL PRODUCTION (Billion kWh)
3% OF TEXAS ELECTRIC CONSUMPTION
396,000
 


Potential Value of Resource in Texas
Wind is a highly variable resource, but with proper understanding it can be readily incorporated into an electric utility's generation mix. This fact has already been recognized by Texas wind developers and electric utilities active in the state's nascent industry. The Panhandle, mountainous parts of West Texas, and perhaps even the lower Gulf Coast, contain areas with winds presently suitable for electric power generation. The number of commercially attractive sites will only expand as development costs continue to drop and wind turbine technology improves.

Texas Wind Power Potential
WIND POWER CLASS WIND CHARACTERISTICS 50 METERS
ABOVE GROUND*
POWER
(W/m2) SPEED
(mph) COMMERCIAL
VIABILITY



EXCELLENT
Fifty meters (164 feet) is a common tower height for large wind turbines. 

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