Wind Resources

About the Reno Wind Resource Map (WRM)

Northern Nevada is rich in renewable energy resources such as geothermal. solar,  and wind.  Most citizens are intuitively aware of that they live in a sunny climate, and notice certain areas are prone to wind.  However, the vast majority of citizens do not understand how to quantify the available resources, or how to take advantage of these resources. 

The City of Reno, with the use of  federal grant money, is educating the public on renewable energy resources via the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiative under the Council Green Priority.   As part of this initiative a Reno Wind Demonstration program has been established which include the installation of  six demonstration wind turbines, and the creation of a wind resource map (WRM).

The actual performance of the demonstration turbines  may be used to first understand  the range of  small wind turbine performance in the Reno/Sparks area.   The location of the demonstration  turbines are listed on the WRM with links to real-time and historical performance on the City of Reno’s Green Energy Dashboard.   The WRM will be updated  in the future with case studies as more small wind turbines are installed in various neighborhoods and performance information is documented.

The WRM characterizes the general wind resource for various parts of the city based on historical anemometer data.   The anemometer data is based on multiple-year wind records from weather stations owned by the National Weather Service, Desert Research Institute,  Nevada Department of Transportation,  Washoe County Air Quality, and personal weather stations.   The map lists the location and  wind data from each of the stations, and indentifies Wind Zones for various areas of the Reno/Sparks area.   The average wind speed at various turbine heights is provided , as well as the estimated  Weibul K-Factor, for each anemometer and for each Wind Zone .   This wind data (Average Wind Speed, and K Factor) may then be input into wind turbine energy calculators provided by small wind vendors, or NV Energy to estimate the energy generated by the turbine.  I

It is important to note that Wind Zones are based on large areas and a limited number of anemometers.   When estimating the wind resource it may be best to use the data from the closest anemometer (may be in neighboring wind zone) , rather than  Wind Zone average.    Additionally  local effects from terrain, vegetation, and structures may have a dramatic effect at increasing, or decreasing the local wind resource.   Additional information regarding siting can be found under  the link “Small Wind Considerations”.