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Abstract

Using data from two measurement networks, we analyse the following aspects of wind speeds over Switzerland to assess the possibility of high wind power penetration: spatial correlation, persistent low wind power conditions and the diurnal and seasonal wind speed patterns. We show that correlation amongst speeds as a function of distance is significantly lower compared to values found in literature. This can be attributed to the complex terrain of the Alps, which has a profound influence on meteorological parameters. Secondly, using extreme value analysis we calculate return levels for low wind power periods. Large differences are found, with return levels ranging from 29 to 1017 h of no power production for a return period of 10 years. No clear spatial pattern was found that can account for these values. However, the length of no-production periods decreases with increasing elevation. Next, we investigate diurnal and seasonal wind speed patterns and show how the different patterns and their intra-annual variation can be explained by local topography. We also find that with increasing elevation mean wind speeds and power production increase, even when accounting for lower air density. Wind speeds are on average higher in winter, and at elevation the relative increase in winter compared to summer is higher. Notable exceptions are explained from topography and carry implications for wind power development. In view of Switzerland’s electricity shortage in winter, these findings make a strong claim for wind power development, especially at higher elevations.

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