Does average wind speed for an area really give enough information for putting up a turbine?
While average wind speed can be one initial indicator of wind power in a region, the variability of wind has to also be understood. The most useful information will be obtained from placing an anemometer (a device which measures wind speed) on your site for at least one year. Several states have loan programs available. A faster (and sometimes less expensive) method is to look up wind data from the National Renewable Energy Lab. Winds on your site should be at least class 2 (annual wind speeds averaging 9.8-11.5 mph at 50 meters above ground level) to be suitable for wind generation. The US Department of Energy has more information on siting turbines, and the American Wind Energy Association has a detailed siting handbook.
Cole Gustafson, North Dakota State University
Irene Shonle, Colorado State University