US wind drought in 2015 not due to El Nino - DNV GL

Wind turbines in Texas. Author: Will De Freitas. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

February 17 (SeeNews) - The unprecedented drop in windiness in the US last year cannot be explained merely by cyclical patterns, more specifically the impacts of El Nino, but is rather due to more complex causes, according to DNV GL.

In 2015, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, southeast Texas and Florida were among the regions reporting their lowest recorded wind levels in more than 25 years, the consultancy and certification firm notes. This has caused wind power output to fall short of expectations.

According to Daran Rife, who led the team conducting the study, the true reason for the wind drought is "[a] high-pressure ridge of unprecedented proportions and longevity, which formed and sustained itself from June 2013 to June 2015." The analysis, announced Tuesday, has found that a mass of warm Pacific water nearly the size of the contiguous US caused the high-pressure system.

"As the U.S. increasingly looks to wind power to contribute a greater proportion of energy resources, there's a great need to understand the complex factors of climate and weather that shape wind output," said Rife.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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