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Here is a link to an extremely windy NZ wind farm:


While the turbines are on a ridge, the ridge appears to be in a wind funnel zone, hence the "wind canyon". Many of the initial California wind farms are located in similar spots, where winds get funneled by higher hills on either side of the turbine array.

Such arrangements get amazing winds on a really consistent basis. Its the wind equivalent of a Niagara Falls.

In the Western part of the US, in places like Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, as the air that has been cooled by being forced over 3000 to 4000 meter tall mountain ranges (themselves "air dams") falls off the mountains in that ever-present west to east direction, density adds to the kick, and all this air happens to puor across vast flat or gently undulating lands. Every once in a while this river of air encounters a bump, like the State of Kansas. Anyway, wind speeds averaging 8 to 9 m/s at hub heights are quite common across vast regions.

But they are nothing compared to either wind canyon winds or areas like the NZ wind farms (the two islands may also form a canyon of sorts). This wind farm actually makes the North Sea look like a calm spot, and the North Sea is anything but calm, on average.

As for NZ, the big question is why isn't the whole country powered up by the combination of this awesome wind resource, pumped and deferred hydro storage, and that plentiful geothermal energy. I guess it's a work in progress, and I also wish them the best in their efforts to go renewable...


by nb41 on Fri Apr 11th, 2008 at 12:46:22 PM EST
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