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Wind energy data yield mixed results

There is good news and bad news for South Dakota wind energy from six years of monitoring data.

The state’s wind resources have long ranked at or near the top in the U.S., though turbine construction has lagged states such as Minnesota and Iowa. The Wind Resource Assessment Network confirms the potential is high, and has even been underestimated in some places.

The bad news is that peak wind speeds tend not to match up with peak demand. The assessment shows the highest wind speeds at 10 locations are at night and in the winter, whereas peak electricity use occurs during hot summer days.

Future developments such as the wider use of plug-in electric cars could overcome those limitations, engineering professor Mike Ropp of South Dakota State University said in a news release. SDSU set up the wind assessment network, along with electric cooperatives and other groups.

By Ben Shouse

Argus Leader

14 August 2007