Wind Speed Measurements in the Snake River Valley

Dr. Stephen B. Turcotte
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Physics Department

Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in the U.S. to expand our use of renewable energy. This interest has been motivated by a number of factors, including concerns about global warming and volatile oil and gas prices. During the past decade, the wind industry has seen consistent double-digit annual growth. 2008 was a record year with the wind power generating capacity in the U.S. increasing by 50%. This growth is expected to continue during the next decade with a number of states passing renewable energy standards which mandate that a certain amount of energy (typically 20%) must come from renewable sources.

The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has taken the lead in assessing the wind resource potential in Idaho, with particular emphasis on sites in the Snake River Valley. Scientists at BYU-Idaho have been involved in this effort and have made wind speed measurements in the Rexburg area. The purpose of this presentation is to report some of these measurements and discuss the potential use of wind energy throughout the Snake River Valley.