18 June 2014

Low Cost and Low Carbon Emission Wind and Solar Energy Systems are Feasible for Large Geographic Domains

CEES Seminar by Dr Christopher Clack (University of Colorado)

A number of wind turbines in the sea

The importance of weather-driven renewable energies for the United States’ and the world’s energy portfolio is growing. The main perceived problems with weather-driven renewable energies are their intermittent nature, low power density, and high costs.

In 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado (CIRES) began a large-scale investigation into the characteristics of weather-driven renewables. The project utilised the best available weather data assimilation model to compute high spatial and temporal resolution power datasets for the renewable resources of wind and solar PV.

The weather models used were the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) for the years of 2006-2008 over the US and the Flow-Following Finite Volume Icosahedral Model (FIM) for 2008 over the globe.


Dr Christopher Clack is a research scientist II with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He received his PhD in applied mathematics and plasma physics from the University of Sheffield in the UK, where he was studying waves in the atmosphere of the Sun. He also has a BSc in mathematics and statistics from the University of Manchester in the UK.

Dr Clack previously worked on solar physics and the governing equations of magnetohydrodynamics, which is a convolution of the Navier-Stokes equations with the simplified Maxwell equations.

His work in that field brought him into his passion of renewable energy with research into ignition temperature possibilities using Alfven resonances.

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