Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Is it windy enough for you? The potential for wind energy to generate electricity, income, and energy security in rural east-central Nebraska
by Zach, Roy M., M.A., University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2009, 99; 1462507
Abstract (Summary)

Citizens living in the Columbus, Nebraska area once met all of their local electric power needs via the Columbus and Monroe hydropower facilities. Today, this area imports significant quantities of electricity via high voltage power transmission lines, thereby creating dependencies on areas far away. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential for wind power within this area of Nebraska—in order to generate electricity, income, and energy security at a more local level. A thorough analysis of the local wind resource, and its comparison to the local electric power demand, demonstrates the economic feasibility of producing electricity from wind power within this area.

The study region includes the Cornhusker Public Power District and Loup Power District service areas within east-central Nebraska. Boone, Colfax, Nance, and Platte counties are entirely within these two districts; portions of Greeley, Madison, and Wheeler counties are also served. The varying landscape includes: low-lying creek and river floodplains, high plains, moderately sloping clay hills, and rugged sand hills. The local wind resource is abundant.

I downloaded and processed meteorological data from Columbus Municipal Airport for calendar years 2005 and 2006; subsequently, I utilized standard atmospheric equations to extrapolate wind speeds to a wind turbine hub height of 80 meters. Calculations using these extrapolations and the power curves for Gamesa G87-2.0 and Suzlon 88-2.1 wind turbines project the quantities of electricity that can be generated. The local wind resource and projected power outputs are aligned graphically to the local power districts‘ demand loads on an hour-by-hour basis.

A $4,000,000 installed two-megawatt nameplate capacity wind turbine located in this area would produce approximately 3,700,000 to 4,000,000 kilowatt/hours per year. It is reasonable to believe that an approximate price of $0.14 kilowatt/hour would pay off the wind turbine over a 20-year period. The northwest portion of the study area would naturally yield more favorable conditions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peake, Jeffrey
Commitee: Blair, Robert, Cammack, Rex, Gildersleeve, Charles
School: University of Nebraska at Omaha
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- Nebraska
Source: MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Physical geography, Agriculture
Keywords: Electricity, Energy, Nebraska, Turbine, Wind
Publication Number: 1462507
ISBN: 9781109081787
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