wind assessment, Lake Michigan, LIDAR wind sensor, statistical analysis


Engineering | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Statistics and Probability


A study was conducted to address the wind energy potential over Lake Michigan to support a commercial wind farm. Lake Michigan is an inland sea in the upper mid-western United States. A laser wind sensor mounted on a floating platform was located at the mid-lake plateau in 2012 and about 10.5 kilometers from the eastern shoreline near Muskegon Michigan in 2013. Range gate heights for the laser wind sensor were centered at 75, 90, 105, 125, 150, and 175 meters. Wind speed and direction were measured once each second and aggregated into 10 minute averages. The two sample t-test and the paired-t method were used to perform the analysis. Average wind speed stopped increasing between 105 m and 150 m depending on location. Thus, the collected data is inconsistent with the idea that average wind speed increases with height. This result implies that measuring wind speed at wind turbine hub height is essential as opposed to using the wind energy power law to project the wind speed from lower heights. Average speed at the mid-lake plateau is no more that 10% greater than at the location near Muskegon. Thus, it may be possible to harvest much of the available wind energy at a lower height and closer to the shoreline than previously thought. At both locations, the predominate wind direction is from the south-southwest. The ability of the laser wind sensor to measure wind speed appears to be affected by a lack of particulate matter at greater heights.

Original Citation

Standridge, C., Zeitler, D., Clark, A., Spoelma, T., Nordman, E., Boezaart, T.A., Edmonson, J., Howe, G., Meadows, G., Cotel, A. and Marsik, F. (2017) Lake Michigan Wind Assessment Analysis, 2012 and 2013. Int. Journal of Renewable Energy Development, 6(1), 19-27.