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Free Content ssessing the wind field over the continental shelf as a resource for electric power

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To assess the wind power resources of a large continental shelf area, we analyze the 18-year hourly wind records from meteorological stations in the US Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB), comparing areas of coast, estuary, and open shelf. We calculate winds at turbine hub height for the sea breeze compared with synoptic winds and, for each type of site, we compare the seasonal and daily phase match to electrical load. To improve large-scale ocean power resource calculations, we derive an iterative algorithm to determine the surface roughness coefficient (z 0). Our method calculates z 0 for specific times and locations over the ocean, rather than the prior practice of using a generic z 0 that is constant across time and space. Due to lower surface roughness of the ocean, wind speeds are notably higher at hub height, so that in the MAB we find that a representative open shelf site has three times the power content of a nearby land site. Regarding phase match to daily electric load, we find the sea breeze adjacent to the coast is a very good match to this region's electric power load profile. However, the open shelf wind speeds are so much higher (10.9 m s–1 versus 5.7 m s–1 for the comparison period) that the near-coast phase advantage is obviated. We also find more consistent wind power production offshore, with single sites producing at least some power 88 to 92% of the time. By modeling electrically interconnected sites, power production improves to 96.3% with as few as three interconnected wind sites and to 99.3% with 5 interconnected sites.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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