An Analysis of Wind Resources and the Feasibility of Wind-Energy Generation on the Connecticut College Campus
Document Type Honors Paper
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A wind-resource analysis was undertaken on the Connecticut College campus to augment the preliminary wind-power feasibility study conducted by Global Energy Concepts (GEC) in 2006. Based largely on modeled wind speeds, this earlier study concluded that wind resources at the college were insufficient to generate large amounts of electrical energy given the small-scale turbine believed to be suited to the campus's available land. In the current wind-resource analysis, rather than using modeled values, on-site wind measurements were made over the course of a year and extrapolated to the hub heights of various turbines. These extrapolations suggest that the mean annual wind speed on campus, due partly to a favorable hill-acceleraiton effect, may be at least 5.2 m/s at a height of 35 m above ground level, which is 6% greater than the mean wind speed that GEC estimated. Moreover, when a wind turbine sited in the college's extensive arboretum is considered, much larger-scale projects become possible. These entail higher hub heights and therefore the capture of faster, more energy-dense wind. The current study found that, even allowing for large uncertainties in the wind-resource calculations, a commercial-sized turbine built at high elevation in the arboretum may be able to produce enough electrical power to meet a substantial proportion of the school's total electrical energy needs. Because of the many acres of woodland surrounding such a turbine, its visual and acoustic effects on its neighbors may be within acceptable limits. The study results need to be verified, however, and air turbulence over the forest is another issue requiring further investigation.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.