Resource Profile: Wind Energy in Utah
In 2009 the State of Utah commissioned the Utah Renewable Energy Zones Phase I report, an extensive assessment of the various renewable resources available for development. Below is a summary of the UREZ findings on wind energy:
This analysis estimates Utah’s theoretical potential for deriving electric power from wind resources. Utah’s extreme diversity in landscape and climate are well known. These factors significantly affect Utah’s wind resources. As a result, Utah has a wide array of locations that may be viable options for wind energy development.
The resource analysis to identify REZs was based upon wind data collected from 109 anemometer towers stationed throughout the state. The wind resource analysis incorporated several criteria to shape the methodology: (1) screening out environmentally sensitive areas, (2) setting a maximum elevation of 9,500 feet, (3) eliminating land too rugged for development, (4) deleting military operating airspace, and (5) using a proxy wind turbine, General Electric 1.5 sle model, to estimate electrical energy capacity from identified sites.
Major findings from the wind assessment are:
• The combined technical electrical generating capacity is approximately 9,145 MW from the 51 wind REZs.
• The estimated annual average gross capacity factor for the 51 REZ sites is 27.4%.
• Twelve sites have expected gross capacity factors of at least 30%, accounting for 1,830 MW or greater of generating
• Eleven sites have an estimated installed capacity of at least 250 MW each (2,750 MW).
• The greatest concentration of wind resources is located near Milford with an estimated installed capacity of 2,500 MW.
• Twenty-four of Utah’s 29 counties contain wind REZs.
• Total area of the 51 wind sites is 1,838 square miles.