Piotr Wiczkowshi with adviser P. L. Chapman

Figure 34: General wind trends within Illinois.

Figure 34: General wind trends within Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wanted information on supplying clean, renewable wind energy to rest areas, weigh stations, and team section building operated by IDOT within Illinois. In order to provide them with adequate information to make educated decisions on a site-by-site basis, wind data had to be collected. Figure 34 details general wind trends within Illinois, but for a detailed analysis more precise wind data was needed. For all of the more than 75 sites, historical minute-by-minute data was obtained and compared with wind turbines available on the market to maximize potential power output. The project also included a financial analysis.

A large collection of spreadsheets was designed to allow for comparison of every site in the data base with all available turbines. The user is then able to take the default financial assumptions or input more precise data. The levelized cost per kilowatt Figure 34: General wind trends within Illinois.hour over the lifetime of a particular turbine is compared against the levelized cost of utility electricity during that lifetime. These costs will allow IDOT to make educated decisions on whether a turbine is right for that site.

During the life of the project several key issues had to be addressed. Wind data was collected at a certain height but needed to be extrapolated to the believed height of the future turbine. This extrapolation is based on the surrounding land area. The spreadsheet allows for the user to adjust the wind data specifically for the surrounding conditions. The benefits of real-time pricing were also explored by analyzing wind patterns over a 24-hour time period, but it was determined that no benefit would be obtained.

This project is supported by IDOT grant IDOT ICT D7939.