Additional Climate Information & Links

About Wind Energy

Wind energy is harnessing the wind to do work. For over a century, the wind has been harnessed in the central plains of the U.S. to pump water for agricultural and household use. In the first half of the 20th century, small wind turbines produced electricity for remote farms and ranches. When inexpensive public power came to rural America, the small wind turbines almost totally vanished from the landscape.

Today, the wind is being harnessed by large wind turbines to produce electricity on a commercial scale. The new generation of commercial wind turbines are placed on towers at least 40 meters tall. In the north central states, major wind farms are being developed in Minnesota and Iowa .

Before efficient wind energy development can occur, the actual wind speed at a location must be known. This need to accurately know the wind speed is because wind power production is a cubic function of the wind speed (wind speed raised to the third power). Thus a 10% increase in the wind speed will increase power production by 30%.

While computer models can assist in locating sites that are promising for wind energy development, the only way to know the actual wind speed at a location is to monitor the location for several years. Determining the actual wind energy resources at selected sites is the purpose of the Nebraska Wind Energy Monitoring Program .

Nebraska Wind Monitoring Program

The Nebraska Wind Energy Monitoring Program is a joint project among the Nebraska Public Power Districts, Nebraska State Government, and public interest groups. The study is coordinated by the Nebraska Wind Energy Task Force. The Task Force includes representatives from The data are collected, quality controlled, and archived daily by the High Plains Regional Climate Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. Data analysis and reports are produced by Global Energy Concepts (GEC) located in Bothell, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.