Prospecting for SuperWind
Ken Caldeira and Cristina Archer's famous estimates put global wind energy at some hundred-plus times greater than human needs. Given such abundance, its smart to cherry-pick the very finest wind by availability, reliability and strength. Call this "superwind". Let it be defined as either regularly occurring gale to hurricane strength wind as found in jet streams (particularly at upper altitudes), gap wind, convection tails, katabalic wind, etc., or extremely reliable or persistent wind, such as sea breeze and stratospheric return flow.
The common theme to most superwind is energy focusing. Many planetary features, like spin and differential heating on the grand scale, and coasts and mountains on a more mesoscale, focus wind energy into vortices and jets. Vortices have a zone between center and margin where flow is most energetic. Jets have cores where energy focuses. Chasing superwind is envisioned in some conceptions. The jet stream might be somehow followed cross country to extend capacity factor close to 100%. Every little cumulus has an convection tail, like an invisible stalk of a mushroom cloud, where energy focuses as a vertical jet (pure lift).
Mountain ranges have major focusing or blocking effects on wind. A mountain wave is the piling up of air pressure to windward as a bow-wave that often extends to the stratosphere. Wind tends to go around mountain bow waves or through gaps accelerated. Wind jumping over continental land masses accelerates katabatically as it flows downhill on the lee-side. Look at a global average wind map to clearly see these effects (Joby Energy has a good graphic online).
Of course superwind alone is not financially attractive without a market. Fortunately many of the best geographically accelerated upper winds occur over major energy markets like Japan and the upper US East Coast. Remote superwind development will lag behind local superwind harvesting and as the (liquid) hydrogen economy matures. There are precedents, like early Niagara Falls hydropower, where "build it and they will come" applies.
KiteLab located on the US NW Pacific Coast to do AWE research, as the year-around winds in this area are perhaps the best in the country. It was Wayne German (SoarEn Consulting) who touted this opportunity. WindLift relocated to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; and Makani Power jets to Maui, Hawaii, by the same logic. A company serious about developing AWE must go where the resource is plentiful to get the most flying time in. Avoid the many lesser "dead" zones unless, perhaps, you aim for marginal low wind markets with specialized ultralight (UL) technology.
There is no fault in
your cautious logic, but the
siren song of high
superwind is impossible for the true HAWP crowd especially to resist.