Wind resource assessments are an essential part of successful wind energy development. Currently, wind energy resource predictions for Appalachian Ohio are based on large-scale meteorological models with sparse, low-lying validation data that poorly characterize the wind given southeastern Ohio’s complex terrain. State and federal policies, today’s energy economics, and current and future wind energy and transmission technology suggest that a meso-scale assessment to identify the best of the Appalachian Ohio wind resource is worthwhile. The Wind Energy and Assessment Visualization (WEAV) is a meso-scale assessment strategy that combines three components: tall tower wind measurements, regional terrain and surface roughness GIS mapping and a computational fluid dynamics wind simulator designed for complex terrain. The wind measurement component is described here. Up to and above top current blade heights wind characteristics, including wind speed and direction at six heights, temperature at three heights, and barometric pressure and relative humidity at hub height, are being acquired every 10 minutes on the WOUB 262-meter (800-ft) communications tower for two years. This data, together with regional terrain characteristics will be top quality inputs into a wind simulator and enable modeling of the wind resource across a 2000 square mile (5,200 km2) complex terrain region. Advantages of the WEAV strategy include improved measurement of wind shear and velocities, long-term characterization of the free stream velocity field, and much broader domains of assessment. The following is a description of the motivation for and advantages of this type of study, details of the design, installation, and challenges of an extra-tall tower wind characterization, and preliminary results documenting the boom design’s tower shadow minimization.

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