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3TIER Releases New Wind Performance Maps

Feb 4, 2010 - North American Windpower

3TIER has released maps that plot how average wind speeds in the U.S. differed from their long-term averages in 2009 and that illustrate the impact of El Nino, which contributed to a decrease in wind power production in several important wind power regions.

El Nino and similar climatic fluctuations are normal, predictable phenomena that can and should be accounted for when assessing potential wind power sites or designing a geographically diversified portfolio of sites, according to 3TIER.

"It is fair to say that only a few areas known for their concentrated wind resources outperformed their average yearly wind speeds," says Kenneth Westrick, founder and CEO of 3TIER. "The good news is that we have the scientific expertise and technology to account for these long-term fluctuations, incorporate them into a project's financials and forecast their occurrence with a considerable degree of certainty."

3TIER generated the maps using both observational data and numerical weather prediction modeling, which illustrate the effect of the El Nino Southern Oscillation on wind speeds.

The maps demonstrate that such naturally occurring phenomena have a significant impact on wind power production, and that these impacts are largely predictable and quantifiable using advanced modeling techniques.

The map was created by comparing output from 3TIER's continually updated meteorological data set with wind conditions averaged over the period from 1969 to 2008 from the same data set.