Wind energy is generated by the movement of air in the Earth's atmosphere and can be harnessed to generate electricity. Although considered to be "mature" by today's research standards, the wind industry still encounters several technical, environmental , and policy barriers to expanded deployment and re-powering, for which technical research and demonstration may offer solutions. One issue is that many older plants employ wind technologies that are less efficient and less grid-friendly, and are therefore candidates for re-powering.
With the technical assistance of the California Wind Energy Collaborative, current PIER research aims to address important wind energy challenges that arise as increasing levels of wind generation are integrated into California's electricity grid. Research projects seek to develop and demonstrate technological remedies that address grid integration issues, facilitating and easing the transition to a renewables-based electricity portfolio for communities and utilities. Research opportunities include:
- Assessment of transmission requirements and methods to transport wind-generated electricity from remote sites to load centers,
- Improved wind energy forecasting tools,
- improved wind plant models for analyzing interaction with the grid,
- investigation of cost-effective wind technologies for deployment in areas with moderate wind speed and
- Assessment of the potential and feasibility for deployment of off-shore wind technologies.
Whenever possible, PIER makes publicly available quality wind-related data sets collected by way of research it sponsors, thereby aiding independent analysis and validation of its results.