Global Wind Atlas

From Open Energy Information

The Global Wind Atlas is a free, web-based application developed to help policymakers and investors identify potential high-wind areas for wind power generation virtually anywhere in the world, and perform preliminary calculations. This new tool facilitates online queries and provides freely downloadable data-sets based on the latest input data and modeling methodologies. Users can additionally download high-resolution maps showing global, regional, and country wind resource potential.

The Global Wind Atlas (GWA) is the result of a successful partnership between the World Bank Group and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), with funding from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). The modeling uses the latest global reanalysis data (ERA Interim), with mesoscale modeling at 9km carried out by the commercial firm Vortex, and microscale modeling at 1km completed by DTU (including up to 30km offshore). The easy-to-use website has a number of tools to identify high wind resource areas, and users can select countries or sub-national regions, draw polygons, and download their results.

Now that this data is freely available, there is no need to carry out wind resource mapping at the country level – although there is still the need for more publicly-available measurement data from ground instruments to help validate the results. ESMAP has funded a number of solar and wind measurement projects, with the data published via the WBG open energy data platform at The GWA is an upstream tool, and wind farm development will require more detailed data and site measurements, which can be procured from commercial providers. However, the hope is that the GWA will provide a useful entry point with governments interested in expanding wind energy generation, and will help level the playing field between governments and commercial developers, and between developers.