The Project developed a new assessment of wind power potentials in China, expressed as capacity factors of typical 1.5 MW wind turbines, screening out areas with unsuitable land uses and topography. The study appeared as the cover article of Science on September 11, 2009 (McElroy et al. 2009). This research is led by Project Chair Michael McElroy and post-doc LU Xi. It takes advantage of NASA global assimilated meteorological datasets that have been validated by hundreds of studies of atmospheric chemistry and transport, and that drive the China Project's atmospheric model described here. A good discussion of the study's implications appeared in MIT's Technology Review. It was also reported by China Daily, Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, Guardian, CBC, ClimateWire, Discovery, Public Radio International, and other sources (some requiring a subscription).
A research article applying the methodology in a global wind assessment appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Lu, McElroy, and Kiviluoma 2009), covered by Time Magazine, The Boston Globe, ABC News, The Telegraph, New Scientist, and National Public Radio. An introduction to this research, with application to the U.S., appeared in Harvard Magazine.
The team continues to exploit meteorological databases to develop new methodological approaches to the challenges of integrating large-scale wind power into energy systems of both China and the U.S. Lu, McElroy, and Sluzas (2011b) examines the costs and CO2 benefits of wind power deployment in the Texas electric power system. Lu et al. (2011a) evaluates the effect of the U.S. Production Tax Credit policy on profitability of wind power in the U.S., differentiated by geography.
The team is preparing new studies of coupling wind power with pumped hydro storage in Inner Mongolia, China; the benefits of a transmission backbone interconnecting offshore wind power deployments off the coast of China; and the effects of interconnection of geographically distant onshore wind power bases in China on the variability of electricity supply.
Acknowledgment: Some of the material summarized here is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. ATM-1019134 or ATM-0635548 (indicated by acknowledgments in the papers themselves). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).