UW seeks to improve Wyoming’s wind turbines
Wyoming ranks 7th among states for wind energy potential
November 27, 2005
(Laramie) University of Wyoming College of Engineering researchers are developing information that will make the new generation of large wind turbines more efficient and economically attractive in today's energy market. The research is being aided by a $285,000 grant from the Department of Energy, according to the University of Wyoming.
As costs to produce electricity continue to escalate, Wyoming's considerable wind energy resources have the potential to help produce a larger portion of the nation's demand for electricity.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Wyoming ranks seventh among the states for wind energy potential, as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kilowatt hours. Today, wind contributes less that 1 percent of U.S. electrical generation, but the AWEA says that with government encouragement, wind could provide at least 6 percent of the nation's energy by 2020.
Wind-generated electricity is attractive because power created from wind plants does not contribute to environmental problems such as greenhouse gas emissions and pollution associated with conventional electricity production.
Since wind speeds are greater at higher levels above ground, it is desirable and economical to produce electricity on extremely tall towers, perhaps several hundred feet above the ground. Researchers are working to develop a design tool that can help predict the winds that can be expected within a given location. They hope to provide design data needed to construct huge turbines that can withstand even the most extreme high winds that can occur within the area.