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Wind power--Minnesota; Winds--Speed


Wind is receiving renewed attention as an energy resource. Unfortunately, many wind energy assessments are based on records that may not be representative of the long-term wind resource. To better evaluate wind energy potential in and around Minnesota, we analyze wind speeds from 1961 to 1990 for seven stations in the region at a height of about 6.1 m above ground level. We used hourly and three-hourly speed observations to develop a 30-year time series of mean monthly wind speeds, their maxima and minima, and the diurnal wind speed range. Simple linear regression was used to evaluate long-term trends in each variable. Wind speeds across the state show meaningful intrannual and interannual variability for each of the seven stations and for the seven-station (regional) average. The diurnal wind speed range (DWR) also exhibits marked variability, with distinct periods of increased and decreased DWR separated by abrupt transitions. The observed variability of wind speed over the 30-year period underscores the necessity of recognizing this variability when making investment decisions for wind energy generation.

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