Vaisala is partnering with several groups to assess the potential of growth for wind energy. Southeastern Wind Coalition (SWEC) members Southern Company and Santee Cooper will be working with Vaisala on a wind feasibility study to assist the utilities in identifying the potential for utility-scale wind development. Currently, the region has very little wind energy production.
The southwest has a longstanding reputation for low wind resources in comparison to the rest of the U.S. has led many developers to overlook the Southeast as a potential site for commercial wind energy projects. However, as turbine and resource mapping technologies improve, interest in the region is starting to increase.
As reported by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), SEWC, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), taller towers, longer blades, and improved electronics have significantly increased turbine output and efficiency and expanded the areas where wind energy projects are not only feasible but also profitable, such as the southeast.
In order to further evaluate this growth and mobilize the development of utility-scale wind projects in the Southeast, the industry must have access to high-quality wind resource data as a basis for crucial project siting decisions and to complete financial modeling. Vaisala’s wind feasibility study will provide this access by creating a wind resource database of the Southeast, which will be available to coalition members, as well as a wind resource map at high altitudes, which will be publically available. The wind study will be conducted over 12 months.
“The Southeast is poised for considerable wind energy growth,” said Pascal Storck, global manager of Energy Services at Vaisala. “However, before utilities and developers can start to make the most of the region’s wind potential, the industry needs to provide these would-be investors with access to trusted, reliable data. That includes comprehensive resource assessment that demonstrates the viability and longevity of southeastern wind energy as an investment proposition.”