IU to take lead in DOE-funded Lake Erie offshore wind power study

Indiana University Bloomington Professors Rebecca J. Barthelmie and Sara C. Pryor, along with colleagues from six institutions and companies in the U.S. and Europe, have been awarded $700,000 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study Lake Erie wind energy resources and to perform a detailed evaluation of remote sensing technologies for wind resource estimation.

A range of ground-based instrumentation, remote sensing and an unmanned aerial vehicle will provide a three-dimensional view of wind characteristics across temporal and spatial scales relevant to wind energy.

IU will receive $420,000 of the award that is being shared with Case Western Reserve University, Arizona State University, Risoe Danish Technical University (Denmark), Clarkson University, SgurrEnergy and Horizon Wind Energy LLC. The consortium of public and private partners has expertise in ground-based instrumentation, remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles to provide a three-dimensional view of wind characteristics that can be used to design wind turbines and wind farms and to optimize energy capture and reduce the cost of electricity.

Barthelmie will lead a consortium to measure offshore wind and turbulence and to develop best practices for operation of different instrumentation. A professor of atmospheric science and sustainability in the Center for Research in Environmental Sciences, Barthelmie is also a co-principal investigator on a grant within this same funding round led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop simulation platforms for offshore wind climates.

"It is very exciting to bring our experience in measurement technology to the developing arena of offshore wind energy in the United States," she said. "Offshore wind energy can be a major player in diversifying energy supply and providing much needed electricity to fill a growing energy gap. Our project partners are well-qualified to design and conduct these ground-breaking measurements."

Pryor is the IU Bloomington Provost’s Professor of Atmospheric Science who earlier this year was appointed to the National Climate Assessment and Development Committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help the U.S. government prepare for and deal with climate change. Barthelmie and Pryor are faculty members in the Department of Geography in the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

The award, submitted through IU’s Center for Research in Environmental Sciences, was one of 41 offshore wind power research and development projects that received funding from the DOE last week. The awards, which totaled $43 million, are designed to speed technical innovations, lower costs, and shorten the timeline for deploying offshore wind energy systems.

The Center for Research in Environmental Sciences receives support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington, which is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity, developing new multidisciplinary initiatives, and maximizing the potential of faculty to accomplish path-breaking work.

For more information or to speak with Barthelmie or Pryor, contact Steve Hinnefeld, University Communications, at 812-856-3488 or slhinnef@iu.edu.