The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) started a project in 2000 to record long-term, high-frequency (1-Hz) wind power output data from large commercial wind power plants. Outputs from about 330 MW of wind generating capacity from wind power plants in Buffalo Ridge, Minnesota, and Storm Lake, Iowa, are being recorded. Analysis of the collected data shows that although very short-term wind power fluctuations are stochastic, the persistent nature of wind and the large number of turbines in a wind power plant tend to limit the magnitudes and rates of changes in the levels of wind power. Analyses of power data confirm that spatial separation greatly reduces variations in the combined wind power output relative to output from a single wind power plant. Data show that high frequency variations of wind power from two wind power plants 200 km apart are independent of each other, but low frequency power changes can be highly correlated. This fact suggests that time-synchronized power data and meteorological data can aid in the development of statistical models for wind power forecasting.

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