UMass Sesquicentennial
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Wind Resource Assessment

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LIDAR unit deployed at Hull landfill, site of 1.8MW wind turbine

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SODAR unit deployed on Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Observatory Platform off Falmouth

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ARC SODAR unit deployed with solar power supply on Long Island in Boston Harbor

For the last two decades, the Wind Energy Center (formerly the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory) has been the major research institution in Massachusetts and New England characterizing wind energy resources across the region. State-of-the art LIDAR, SODAR, and tower-based anemometry are used to collect wind speed and direction data, both for long-term reference, and for micro-siting purposes. The Wind Energy Center has also been a pioneer in the development of industry-standard wind energy site feasibility methodologies, including the quality assurance methodologies and measure-correlate-predict (MCP) methodologies for characterizing the long-term wind energy production at a prospective location.

Since 1972, the Wind Energy Center and its predecessors at UMass have installed and operated over 100 meteorological towers — up to 60 meters (200 ft.) in height, across New England. These towers are fitted with cup anemometers and wind vanes at several elevations, including a data logger and cellular modem for daily delivery of data.

In 2001, the Wind Energy Center began measuring winds using remote sensing technologies based on sound — SODAR (sonic detection and ranging) and in 2006, technologies based on infrared laser light — LIDAR (light detection and ranging). Today, the Center regularly deploys two SODARS manufactured by Atmospheric Research and Technology and a Triton SODAR manufactured by Second Wind Inc. The Wind Energy Center’s LIDAR is manufactured by Qinetiq for Natural Power.

The major sponsors of meteorological studies at the Wind Energy Center are the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET), the Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program and the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER).

Resource data collected on behalf of MRET and DOER is in the public domain and can be downloaded directly from the Wind Energy Center wind data website.