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About the Wind Integration Datasets

Here you can learn more about the Eastern and Western Wind Integration Datasets including the similarities and differences between the datasets. Both datasets provide time-series wind data for 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The Eastern Wind Dataset was originally created for the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study and the Western Wind Dataset was originally created for the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study.

These Wind Integration Datasets are intended to be used by energy professionals such as transmission planners, utility planners, project developers, and university researchers.

The datasets were designed to help energy professionals:

  • Perform spatial and temporal comparisons of sites including
    • Geographic diversity, and
    • Load correlation, and
  • Estimate power production from hypothetical wind plants including
    • Needs for storage based on wind variability
    • Potential transmission line loadings, and
    • Simple economic calculations comparing in-state versus out-of-state costs of delivered energy.

These datasets were NOT designed for:

  • Long-term average wind speed or wind power output
  • Absolute accuracy of wind speed or power output for a particular site
  • Use as the sole basis for a project investment.

Differences Between the Eastern and Western Datasets

The Eastern Dataset and the Western Dataset were created for very similar purposes and have the same period of record (1/1/2004-12/31/2006), but the data files and the methodology used to create them are not the same. The following table summarizes some of the differences between them.

  Eastern Dataset Western Dataset
Produced by AWS Truepower 3Tier
Mesoscale Model MASS WRF
Number of Output Points 1,326 32,043
Size of Output Point 5 km2 to 160 km2 1 arc-minute2
Output Point Capacity (MW) 100 MW to 1435 MW 30
Model Output Heights (m agl) 80 m, 100 m 100 m
Turbine Power Curves 3 composite curves (each is the average of 2 or 3 commercial turbine power curves) Vestas V-90 3MW

NREL Wind Maps and Other Data

These Wind Integration Datasets may not match the distribution of the wind resource shown on NREL state wind maps. The state wind maps depict the distribution of long-term average wind resources, while these datasets were designed for use in wind integration studies that examine temporal profiles of wind and load.

These Wind Integration Datasets are time-series data for 2004, 2005 and 2006. This means that if you are investigating an overall good wind site but that, for example, 2004 happened to be a bad year for that site, then the time-series results for 2004 will likely reflect the poor resource during that year. Conversely, one year of data from this wind dataset might show a good wind resource due to interannual variations, yet the long-term average resource may be lower. The goal of these datasets was for use in wind integration studies that examine wind profiles with load or other wind. The goal of the NREL wind maps is to depict the distribution of long-term average wind resources. These time-series datasets and the NREL wind maps were created for different goals and cannot be directly compared. Additionally, different techniques were used in the modeling for these datasets and the NREL wind maps and these will result in different modeling errors.

Even when similar models and techniques have been used, initial parameters into the model may have been different, resulting in different outputs. In these Wind Integration Datasets, the goal was broad, regional datasets that were consistent across a very large area. This means that specific regions may have been better modeled using different initial input parameters; we attempted to yield the best broad representation, which may have been at the expense of better accuracy in specific regions.