Colorado 80-Meter Wind Map and Wind Resource Potential
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published an 80-meter (m) height wind resource map for Colorado. 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 80-Meter Colorado Wind Resource Map
The wind resource map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at an 80-m height, presented at a spatial resolution of about 2 kilometers that is interpolated to a finer scale for display. Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 meters per second and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have a resource suitable for wind development. Utility-scale, land-based wind turbines are typically installed between 80 and 100 m high.
Colorado Wind Resource Potential
The chart to the right shows the wind resource potential above a given gross capacity factor at both 80-m and 100-m heights for Colorado.
NREL estimated the windy land area and wind energy potential in various capacity factor ranges for each state using AWS Truepower's gross capacity factor data. The table lists the estimates of windy land area with a gross capacity of 30% and greater at an 80-m height and the wind energy potential from development of the "available" windy land area after exclusions.
"Installed capacity" refers to the potential megawatts of rated capacity that could be installed on the available windy land area, and "annual generation" refers to the estimated annual wind energy generation in gigawatt-hours that could be produced from the installed capacity. NREL reduced the wind potential estimates by excluding areas unlikely to be developed, such as wilderness areas, parks, urban areas, and water features (see Wind Resource Exclusion Table for more detail). Additional wind potential tables are included for various capacity factor ranges.
These maps and wind potential estimates resulted from a collaborative project between NREL and AWS Truepower. This is the first comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state since 1993. NREL has worked with AWS Truepower for almost a decade on updating wind resource maps for 36 states and producing validated maps for 50-meter heights. The U.S. Department of Energy's Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach initiative supported the mapping efforts.
Note: The average wind speeds indicated on this map are model-derived estimates that may not represent the true wind resource at any given location. Small terrain features, vegetation, buildings, and atmospheric effects may cause the wind speed to depart from the map estimates. Expert advice or detailed wind resource assessments should be sought when estimating energy production potential.