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Wind Maps

NREL, AWS TruePower, U.S. Department of Energy

This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 10 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Maps could be printed out and students could work in groups assigned to compare different states' wind capacity.

About the Science

  • Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 meters/second and greater, at an 80-m height, are generally considered to have a wind resource suitable for wind development. Using this and related state maps, students can determine where in the U.S. wind energy is a viable resource for electricity generation.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The link provides access to wind resource maps for the continental US and some information on how they were created.

About the Pedagogy

  • Both the U.S. map and individual state maps can be printed.
  • Can be used to discuss electricity transmission.
  • Students can see how different regions stack up in utilizing wind resources.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Very easy to access maps and supporting materials in a variety of ways.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

The National Renewable Energy Lab has a mapping tool to evaluate all forms of renewable energy: RE Atlas

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-PS3.A2:A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions.

MS-PS3.B1:When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

MS-ETS1.B1:A solution needs to be tested, and then modified on the basis of the test results, in order to improve it.

MS-ETS1.B4:Models of all kinds are important for testing solutions.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1


MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 10

HS-PS3.A1:Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system’s total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.

HS-PS3.A2:At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

HS-PS3.D1:Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can be converted to less useful forms—for example, to thermal energy in the surrounding environment.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-ETS1.A1:Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-ETS1.B2:Both physical models and computers can be used in various ways to aid in the engineering design process. Computers are useful for a variety of purposes, such as running simulations to test different ways of solving a problem or to see which one is most efficient or economical; and in making a persuasive presentation to a client about how a given design will meet his or her needs.

HS-ETS1.C1:Criteria may need to be broken down into simpler ones that can be approached systematically, and decisions about the priority of certain criteria over others (trade-offs) may be needed

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1


HS-C1.3:Patterns of performance of designed systems can be analyzed and interpreted to reengineer and improve the system.

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