Wind Energy, Onshore Case—Acceptable Locations for Wind Turbines05 Apr

Massachusetts’s Goal

In January 2009, Gov. Deval Patrick set a goal of developing 2,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, enough to power 800,000 Massachusetts homes, by 2020. This post addresses unrealistic expectations of that goal in terms of onshore wind turbines. (The offshore case will be treated in separate posts.)

Acceptable Locations for Wind Turbines

In planning for wind development, the first task is to figure out the minimum wind speed needed by turbines, land areas where that speed is available, and the fraction of the time that it blows at that minimum level (known as the capacity factor). Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 meters per second at a 80 meter height and a capacity factor 30 percent generally are considered to have a suitable wind resource for development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in conjunction with AWS True Power conducted this wind area analysis. These areas did not include parks, wilderness regions, urban areas, and water features (because of the not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) syndrome).

Based on this NREL analysis, the April 7 post will discuss unrealistic growth of wind turbines in Massachusetts as well as the incorrect number of homes that would be powered by them. The post of April 12 will highlight wind turbine issues associated with high capital costs and tax breaks. Summarized in the post of April 14 will be business-development issues related to the commercialization of wind turbines.

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One Response to “Wind Energy, Onshore Case—Acceptable Locations for Wind Turbines”

  1. Kavan Hayward Reply

    Thanks for the great article. It seems that people are finally starting to get it and are doing what needs to be done to lower their carbon footprint. Now if they would just lower the price of things like LED light bulbs and give more insenstives to purchasing and installing wind turbines or solar panels. Then maybe everyone would get involved.

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About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.


For more information about how JHEverson Consulting can help your company with its SBIR and STTR proposals, please contact Jeff Everson.

JHEverson Consulting is based in the Boston area but consults for clients throughout North America. It also is supported by affiliated consultants.