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HOBO asseses wind power potential in Northwestern Pennsylvania

22 September 2010

With the deregulation of electrical power generation looming in the US, Acutec Precision Machining Inc' are using UK based Tempcon Instrumentations' HOBO Anemometers to determining if there is sufficient wind to power a commercial wind turbine.

With its operation sited atop a windy ridge in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, the company uses a large amount of electricity in its machining operations and anticipates increased energy expenditure following deregulation.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory wind resource map for Pennsylvania, annual average wind speeds at the location of Acutec are approximately 4.0-5.5m/s (8.9-12.3mph) at a height of 80m (262ft) above ground level. These wind speeds are within the range generally considered to be sufficient for wind turbine placement, but the data were modelled and not obtained by direct measurement. Because of the large capital investment required for wind turbines, it is critical to measure wind speeds directly at a proposed location.

On a commercial cell tower located at the site, HOBO S-WCA-M003 Anemometers were installed on at heights of 50, 110, 170, and 230 feet above ground level to develop a vertical wind shear model to assess wind turbine designs that operate at different heights. The anemometers also measured wind gust and wind direction.

Approximately every one to three months, data were downloaded before being processed. Data from the anemometers were stored on HOBO H21-002 Micro Station Data Loggers and then uploaded using HOBOware Pro software.

After 13 months of data collection (October 2008 to November 2009) the data were exported from Hoboware Pro to a text format. The rate of recovery of recordings was above 70% for all heights and above 80% for three of the four heights. Data for January and February 2009 at the 230 foot height were lost due to data collection failure.

Mean wind speeds were lowest in summer and highest in the winter, with a minimum in July 8.7mph) at height of 230 feet and a maximum in December (13.1mph) at the same height (Figure 3). As expected, annual mean wind speed and maximum wind speed increased with height.

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