Washington 50-Meter Wind Map
The U.S. Department of Energy's (Energy Department's) Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a 50-meter height wind resource map for Washington. This map is a key piece of understanding the state's wind resource potential from a development, policy, and a jobs and economic development impact perspective.
About the 50-Meter Washington Wind Resource Map
This resource map shows estimates of wind power density at 50 m above the ground and depicts the resource that could be used for community-scale wind development using wind turbines at 50-60-m hub heights.
As a renewable resource, wind was classified according to wind power classes, which were based on wind speed frequency distributions and air density. These classes ranged from Class 1 (the lowest) to Class 7 (the highest). In general, at a 50-m height, wind power Class 4 or higher could have been useful for generating wind power with turbines in the 250-kW to 750-kW rating. Given the advances in technology, resources below Class 4 may now be suitable for the new midsize wind turbines. In recognition of these continuing advancements in wind energy technologies and the ability for the current generation of wind turbines to extract cost competitive wind energy from lower wind speeds the Energy Department has moved away from the wind power classification system and now reports wind speeds only.
This map indicates that Washington has wind resources consistent with community-scale production. The largest contiguous areas of good-to-excellent resource are located in the central part of the state. They are concentrated in the Kittitas Valley northwest of Yakima, on the ridges west of the Columbia River northeast of Yakima, and in the Horse Heaven Hills north of the Columbia River near the Oregon border. Another area of good-to-excellent resource is north of the Blue Mountains in southeastern Washington. Ridge crest locations throughout the state can also have excellent wind resource.
Note: Wind resource at a micro level can vary significantly; therefore, you should get a professional evaluation of your specific area of interest.
Other wind maps are available from Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (NWSEED).