Residential- and commercial-scale distributed wind energy in North Dakota, USA

Aaron Knoll, Katherine Klink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use one year of hourly wind speed measurements at 14 sites across North Dakota to evaluate how both residential- and commercial-scale (utility-scale) wind turbines can help to meet electricity needs within the state. Data are available from April 2004 through March 2005, a period with slightly lower mean wind speeds as compared to a long-term climatology; thus our calculations represent a conservative estimate of wind power for these sites. We assume the wind patterns at each site are representative of the county as a whole and, using capacity factors of 20% (residential) and 35% (commercial), we estimate the amount of electricity that can be generated for the county and compare it to county-based estimates of electricity usage. Our results show that a residential-scale turbine could provide between 90% and 165% of annual net per-person electricity usage in these 14 counties, depending on the wind speed. In addition, for the counties with the smallest populations, only six commercial-scale turbines are needed to meet the net annual county electricity usage; the most populous county would require up to 69 turbines. An evaluation of month-to-month electricity supply and demand showed that between 9% and 20% (13% and 29%) of monthly electricity needs for a county with low (high) average wind speeds could be met if 30% of the county's households had a residential-scale turbine. Our results show that residential-scale turbines have the potential to contribute meaningfully to a distributed-generation wind energy landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2493-2500
Number of pages8
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume34
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

Keywords

  • Commercial wind power
  • Distributed generation
  • North Dakota
  • Residential wind power

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