Episode 173: Where should we build wind energy projects?

wind energy project

Julian Lamy, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Engineering and Public Policy Department, discusses where wind energy projects should be built.

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Should We Build Wind Farms close to Load or Invest in Transmission to Access Better Wind Resources in Remote Areas? A Case Study in the MISO Region by Julian V. Lamy, Paulina Jaramillo, Inês L. Azevedo, and Ryan Wiser.

Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy by the Department of Energy

Frequently Asked Questions About Windy Energy by the Department of Energy

Transcript

HOST: Where should we build wind energy projects? On this week’s Energy Bite, Julian Lamy, a recent PhD graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

JULIAN: The answer seems obvious; build where it’s windiest. The windier the location, the fewer wind turbines are needed to get a certain amount of energy. This efficiency can save millions of dollars in project costs. However, most of the best onshore wind resources in the U.S. are located far from where people live. Wind projects in these distant areas would likely require a lot of transmission lines over long distances, which would cost millions of dollars. Therefore, the tradeoff between these two factors is complicated.

HOST: OK, so what have you found in your research?

JULIAN: In the Midwestern electricity grid, which stretches East-West from Indiana to North Dakota, we found that it’s best to build wind farms in Minnesota and Iowa. Wind speeds in these states are high and they are relatively close to major population centers like the Chicago area, where most people live in this region. The additional transmission costs to build these wind projects aren’t prohibitively high, but the increased wind speeds save hundreds of millions of dollars.

HOST: Do you live or work near an onshore wind project? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

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