Wind power in the southwest USA

Todays newspaper had a map showing the amount of wind power generated by state. The two biggest producers were, of course, Texas and California with over 2,000 MW each. Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado also generate sizeable amounts of wind power. But the rest fo the southwest, Arizona, Nevada and Utah, generated virtually no wind power at all. Utah has only about 1 MW capacity while the other two generate less than 1.

So what’s the deal? Don’t tell me there’s no wind there; I’ve been to Arizona and it was windier than hell and I expect the same in the other states. So I figure it’s probably some kind of resistance[sup]1[/sup] from the power companies. Is that the case?
[sup]1[/sup] Ohms on the range, you might say…

Actually Arizona has lousy wind resources. The only places that have decent wind are in the White Mountains area, and by Flagstaff. Most other locations have only intermittent gusty winds, which aren’t very good for power generation, where one wants continuous, predictable wind. FYI, I live in Scottsdale, and I have property in the White Mountains, so I’ve researched wind power.

Here’s a Wind Resource Map of Arizona: http://www.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/windpoweringamerica/images/windmaps/az_50m_800.jpg
Notice that “fair” is as good as it gets.

Thanks Beowulff. I guess I must have visited AZ during the windy season.

Looking around at other pages on that site you linked to, I found the wind power maps for Nevada and Utah, and they also have poor wind. This surprises me; I figured the desert would be a good place for wind.

I also note that Tennessee has some wind generation but Kentucky none. The site didn’t have maps for these two states. Anyone know if this is because KY has no good wind or is there some other reason?

Perhaps the best place for wind in the country is just off the southern Oregon coast. I haven’t heard of anyone planning on putting turbines out there. That’s a fairly forbidding coast, but it’s mostly the wind that makes it forbidding. Could it even be feasible to place them out there?

I’m not sure why there is no data for TN & KY - it may be that the individual states are responsible for reporting the data and those two states don’t bother.
Even though there may be excellent wind resources off the Oregon coast, there may be political, ecological, or economic reasons not to site there. I doubt there is any engineering reason not to - there are huge deep-water turbines off the coasts of Holland and Germany.

When I lived in AZ I used to take the Bee Line Highway up to Payson all the time. Nice Highway yet trecherous, and I used to see wind advisories all the time up there. Yet with all that seeming wind no one with a generator.

Now back in CT, I see several provate wind towers but no commercial ones. I say stick a field of them 22 miles off shore and forget about it. All the wind you can handle.