Two site simulation tours of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) illustrate the NWTC's location, facilities, and wind resource.
Site Simulation Showing Elevation
This 40-second simulation begins with an overview of the entire state of Colorado, zooms in on the NWTC, and then flies around the site.
This video shows the proper heights of turbines and meteorological towers. The buildings are extruded to their maximum height and shaded grey. Highways, waterways, and urban areas are shown on top of the colored elevation (red colors are the higher elevation and light-green and beige are the lowest elevations). The video can be divided into three parts: zoom in, fly around, and zoom out.
During the zoom in, the observer approaches the NWTC from the west. Urban areas are grey in color. The typical strong winter winds will follow this track as they come over the Rocky Mountains and through Eldorado Canyon. The winds exit the canyon and are directed at the NWTC. From this angle, the Denver metropolitan area is beyond the NWTC.
During the fly around, the observer travels clockwise around the site. Meteorological towers can be seen on the western side of each turbine. The blue object within the NWTC is a 1-MW photovoltaic array. The grey buildings on the west end of the site (mountain side) are a concrete factory and are not part of the NWTC site. These are the only man-made obstacles that affect the NWTC wind resource. The majority of the NWTC buildings are located on the north side of the site. These provide other testing facilities, office space, and storage. The wind turbines are aligned on north-south rows along access roads. There are approximately a dozen data sheds in the field beside the turbines. The smaller wind turbines are on the western end of the site (upwind end), and the larger turbines are on the eastern end. In this arrangement the small turbines are not affected by the large turbines, and several tests can be run simultaneously.
The zoom-out feature takes the observer back over Eldorado Canyon and into the Rocky Mountains. From the final view, the Denver metro area can again be seen beyond the NWTC. The city of Boulder can also be seen on the left side of the screen.
The Google Map to the right gives additional perspective about the location of the NWTC and its facilities. Zoom in on the Google Map to see the NWTC's testing facilities and access roads to both small and large turbines. Zoom out on the Google Map to see its relation to the plains, mountains, and cities.
Site Simulation Showing Wind Resource
This 30-second simulation shows the wind resource around the NWTC and the wind resource of Colorado. Highways and urban areas are shown on top of the colored elevation (red colors are the higher elevation and light-green are the lowest elevations). Zoom in on the video, fly around or zoom out.
Urban areas are shown in grey. As you zoom in, the scene transitions from shading based on elevation to a wind resource map overlaying the landscape. This wind resource is the power density (Watts of wind energy per square meter) at 50 m altitude. (The wind resource data used to make this video are available for download from the NREL Web site. Blue and red areas have the highest annual wind power densities (generally found on the mountain tops). White and beige areas have the least wind resource (generally found in the mountain valleys and places sheltered from winds).The resources shown are annual average power densities. The NWTC has strong winter winds and calm summer winds. From an annual energy production point of view, the NWTC is not a good location. However, from a testing point of view, the NWTC is an ideal location, experiencing seasonally high winds almost exclusively from the west, while allowing extended periods of construction during the summer. The NWTC is in a Class 2 wind resource. Read more about the site's wind resource characteristics.
Moving counterclockwise, the view is of the NWTC. The turbines are aligned on a north-south line with several roads providing access to the turbine sites and the data sheds. The meteorological towers are located to the west of the turbines (the upwind side). The blue object within the NWTC is a 1-MW photovoltaic array.