Submitted as: model experiment description paper 17 Mar 2021

Submitted as: model experiment description paper | 17 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A Twenty-Year Analysis of Winds in California for Offshore Wind Energy Production Using WRF v4.1.2

Alex Rybchuk1,2, Mike Optis1, Julie K. Lundquist1,3, Michael Rossol1, and Walt Musial1 Alex Rybchuk et al.
  • 1National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado, USA
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Offshore wind resource characterization in the United States relies heavily on simulated winds from numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, given the lack of hub-height observations offshore. One such NWP data set used extensively by U.S. stakeholders is the Wind Integration National Dataset (WIND) Toolkit, a 7-year time-series data set produced in 2013 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In this study, we present an update to that data set for offshore California that leverages recent advancements in NWP modeling capabilities and extends the period of record to a full 20 years. The data set predicts a significantly larger wind resource (0.25–1.75 m s−1 stronger), including in three Call Areas that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is considering for commercial activity. We conduct a set of yearlong simulations to study factors that contribute to this increase in the modeled wind resource. The largest impact arises from a change in the planetary boundary layer parameterization from the Yonsei University scheme to the Mellor-Yamada-Nakanishi-Niino scheme and their diverging wind profiles under stable stratification. Additionally, we conduct a refined wind resource assessment at the three Call Areas, characterizing distributions of wind speed, shear, veer, stability, frequency of wind droughts, and power production. We find that, depending on the attribute, the new data set can show substantial disagreement with the WIND Toolkit, thereby driving important changes in predicted power.

Alex Rybchuk et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-50', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Apr 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Alex Rybchuk, 23 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2021-50', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Apr 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Alex Rybchuk, 23 Jun 2021

Alex Rybchuk et al.

Model code and software

Namelists for the CA20 Dataset and Figure Notebooks Optis, Mike, Rybchuk, Alex, Bodini, Nicola, Rossol, Michael, and Musial, Walt

Alex Rybchuk et al.


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Short summary
We characterize the wind resource off the coast of California by conducting simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model between 2000 and 2019. We compare newly simulated winds to those from the WIND Toolkit. The newly simulated winds are substantially stronger, particularly in the late summer. We also conduct a refined analysis at three areas that are being considered for commercial development, finding that stronger winds translates to substantially more power here.