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What is the wind?

Watch Joachim Reuder talk about wind as a renewable energy source, and the basic features of the wind energy potential on a global scale.

In the previous lectures we have briefly explained how energy can be extracted from the wind. But what is wind, what kind of properties does it have, how can we model and measure it? And how does a wind turbine modify the wind? Such questions are addressed in the following lectures.

This module aims to give an overview on wind as renewable energy resource. It introduces a simplified form of the Navier-Stokes equation that accounts for the main physical process that control the wind speed at a given location and time and discusses the most important terms of the equation. Two basic force balances for the wind, the geostrophic wind and the gradient wind, are discussed, as well as the effect of surface friction. The knowledge gained is then used to explain the basic features of the global wind energy potential as annual average and its seasonal dependency.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Name and explain the main processes controlling the wind speed in the atmosphere
  • Describe the geostrophic and gradient wind balance and the effects of surface friction on the wind field
  • Understand the basic features of the wind energy potential on a global scale

Suggested literature

Was this interesting and you want to learn more? Here a few recommendations for a more comprehensive overview on meteorological aspects of wind energy:

Emeis, S. (2018). Wind Energy Meteorology, Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-72858-2

Stull, R.B. (1999). Meteorology for Scientists and Engineers, 2nd edition, Brooks Cole. ISBN: 978-0534372149.

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Introduction to Offshore Wind Energy

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