Lamar Low-Level Jet Program (LLLJP)
Where: Southeastern Colorado
When: September 2003
Who: Investigators in this project include researchers from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The project was funded by NREL of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Portions of the analysis were also supported by the U.S. Army Research Office of the Army Research Laboratory.
How: A purpose of the project was to determine the capabilities of the High-Resolution Doppler Lidar (HRDL) for wind resource assessment and measurement of turbulence conditions within the atmospheric layer occupied by turbine rotors and up to at least 300 m.
Motivation: The current fast-growing demand for alternative wind energy requires developing new wind farms and increasing the capacity of wind turbines by capturing stronger winds at higher altitudes. An important wind-resource region in the U.S. is the Great Plains, and a major source of the wind power in this region is the nocturnal low-level jet (LLJ). Accurate estimates of the LLJ parameters, wind resource potential, and turbulence structure of the boundary layer at the heights of turbine rotors is very important as the heights reached by commercial turbines increase up to 200-250 m.
During 2001-2003 a coordinated effort between DOE, NREL and General Electric Wind Energy (GE Wind) established a Lamar Low-Level Jet Program to study the wind and turbulence environment at a site located about 20 miles south of the town Lamar, Colorado. The site, as a part of the Great Plains, is characterized by frequent, strong winds during all seasons of the year, and thus has a high wind resource potential to drive wind turbines. This part of Colorado is now the site of the 166 MW Green Wind Plant. The instrumentation in this campaign included a 120-m tall meteorological tower installed by GE Wind and an acoustic wind profiler (sodar) operated by NREL. NREL also collected and processed data from sonic anemometers which measured three wind components and temperature at four tower levels of 54-, 67-, 85-, and 120-m. NOAA ESRL joined the program for the first half of September 2003 and deployed HRDL to the site to determine mean and turbulent wind structure at the heights of current and furture turbines, and LLJ properties at heights of interest for wind energy. Why lidars?