A report published by AWS Truewind finds that a number of factors combined to bring above-normal wind speeds to much of the United States, aiding wind power generation in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Near-neutral North Atlantic Oscillation and Pacific-North American patterns, a strong La Niña and a strong Bermuda high promoted windier-than-normal conditions for wind power plants throughout the Ohio River Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. The “Pineapple Express”, an amplified subtropical Pacific jet stream originating near the Hawaiian Islands, aided in bringing above-normal wind speeds to much of the western United States.The report said most of Europe continued to see relatively low wind speeds.

“In particular, wind power plants in Texas and along the eastern seaboard continued to see healthy wind resources, though the upper Great Plains experienced below-normal conditions,” said Michael Brower, chief technical officer. Overall wind performance in 2010 was mixed. While a large swath of the upper Great Plains and Midwest stretching from Montana in the west down to Nebraska and across to Ohio ended up somewhat below normal, the deviations were not unusual and the rest of the country was largely at or above normal.

The report said the majority of Europe continued to see relatively low wind speeds. The most affected areas--Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the western coast of Scandinavia--experienced average wind speeds ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent below normal. The British Isles saw the most dramatic deviations reaching 20 percent below normal in some areas. These patterns reflected a succession of high pressure systems over the British Isles, northern France, Germany and Scandinavia, which blocked or diverted the usual winter storms.

"Most of northern Europe suffered its second straight year of poor winds," said Joan Aymamí, vice president and manager of Europe & South America. "Fortunately, in the same period southern Europe came out relatively well. Such differences are a normal reflection of climatic variability."

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