Drought conditions in Oklahoma are getting worse. Even minor drought can stress crops, delay germination, and shrink water supplies. Oklahoma might not have enough water, but it has plenty of wind, and its wind farms are booming.
Now, a massive data collection effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office could help wind farms across Oklahoma—and the world—increase their energy production with a few strategic moves. Launching March 2022, the American WAKE experiment (or AWAKEN, for short) will capture precise data on how winds shift as they travel from one wind turbine to another or from one wind plant to another. This atmospheric map could help developers adapt their wind plant designs to produce more energy from the same winds, increase profits, and, eventually, reduce electricity prices for consumers.