"Addressing a Few Emergent Challenges in Wind Power Meteorology"

Sukanta Basu, Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University

Early 2007, the American Wind Energy Association projected that the wind energy industry in the U.S. would install over 3000 megawatt (MW) turbines throughout the year. Beyond anyone’s expectations, 5244 MW were installed in 2007. Continuing this record-breaking trend, over 8500 MW were installed in 2008 and close to 10,000 MW in 2009. If this trend continues, the projection to generate at least 20% of the U.S. electricity by wind by 2030 will most likely be realized.

While this is encouraging news, numerous challenges are also surfacing in many spheres of wind power meteorology. For instance: (i) we now undoubtedly need higher accuracy and better reliability in wind resource assessment and turbine micro-siting in view of the fact that the next-generation wind farms will likely be developed over complex terrains; (ii) our capability of short-term wind forecasting ought to be significantly improved in order to transform intermittent wind into not only an alternative energy source but a profitable one; (iii) future turbine design codes must include critical atmospheric events such as low- level jets to avoid premature fatigue failures; and (iv) for the sustainable co-existence of agricultural farming and wind farming, a rigorous quantification of the impacts of wind turbines on micro-climate is urgently required.

My research group tries to address some of these emergent challenges by synergistically combining new- generation modeling approaches (e.g., large-eddy simulation), observational techniques (e.g., small- aperture scintillometry), satellite remote sensing, and by borrowing a suite of tools from the field of complex systems. In this talk, I present a mélange of ongoing research projects ranging from multi- physics ensemble forecasting of wind to micro-climate impact study involving scintillometry, and from large-eddy simulation of low-level jets to synthetic inflow generation for wind turbine design.

The primary research interests of Dr. Sukanta Basu are atmospheric boundary layer processes, turbulence modeling (large-eddy simulation), and wind power meteorology. He is a member of the American Association for Wind Engineering, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the International Association for Hydrological Sciences (UK). He is also an elected member of the American Meteorological Society’s Boundary Layers and Turbulence Committee. Since 2007, he is serving on the editorial board of The Open Atmospheric Science Journal.

Dr. Basu convened sessions on Wind Power Meteorology at the Fall Meetings of the American Geophysical Union in 2008 and 2009. Currently, he is chairing the 3rd GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary Layer (GABLS) Large-Eddy Simulation Intercomparison Study.

Over the past four years, Dr. Basu’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Research Program. His research has been disseminated through various peer-reviewed publications in the fields of meteorology, applied physics, and engineering. He has made numerous presentations at several national and international conferences. He has been invited by the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy; the University of Washington; Stockholm University, Sweden; Wageningen University, The Netherlands; and Indiana University.

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