Numerical simulations of winds have many practical applications at various scales. At the local scale in wind farms, wind turbines interact with the wind in complex ways. They extract kinetic energy from the air flow, alter the vertical distribution of wind in the boundary layer, and generate turbulent wakes that in turn reduce wind power generation of other turbines downstream. Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) is an effective numerical tool to resolve and understand such fine-scale impacts, including the effect of wind farm layout and atmospheric stability. A regional scale application is the energy extraction via airborne wind energy (AWE) devices, such as kites, rigid- and soft-wing, or lighter-than-air systems, which are tethered at the ground but harness stronger winds at higher altitudes than traditional wind turbines. Using a mesoscale model, low-altitude wind speed maxima, such as low-level jets, were identified at many locations worldwide. Their high power density and high frequency of occurrence make them ideal targets for AWE devices that can dynamically adjust their heights to reach the peak wind in the jet. At the global scale, the dissipation of kinetic energy caused by wind turbines was accounted for in the calculation of the “saturation” of wind power potential using a global model. As a result, the technical wind power potential was estimated as ~80 TW.
Cristina L. Archer is an associate professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of Delaware, where she has a joint appointment between the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering program and the Department of Geography. She received her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University in 2004. She held a post-doctoral researcher position there in 2004-2005 and then worked as an atmospheric modeler in the air quality district of San Francisco in 2005-2007. Dr. Archer joined the Carnegie Institution for Science in 2007 as a research associate. She was an assistant professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences of the California State University Chico during 2008-2011. She joined the University of Delaware in 2011. Dr. Archer’s research interests include wind power, meteorology, air quality, climate change, and numerical modeling.