First Wind Resource Database in the Middle East
Vaisala and Masdar partner to enable free access to investment-critical wind resource data of the United Arab Emirates.
Vaisala has partnered with the Masdar Institute to develop the UAE Wind Atlas – the first publicly available wind resource database in the Middle East. Launched at the World Future Energy Summit, this highly significant investment and infrastructure planning tool is free to access through the International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) Global Atlas.
As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeks to satisfy domestic energy demand by diversifying its oil-rich energy portfolio, progressive economic policies and a supportive stance on renewable energy look set to make the country a leader within the region. While, as a desert nation, the UAE is primarily recognized for its strong solar potential, wind energy will play an important role in broadening the range of renewable energy sources and providing security of supply when solar energy falls short, such as during night time hours.
Given the variable nature of wind generation, siting and integrating high penetrations of wind energy pose unique challenges. Bringing online large volumes of wind power in a cost-effective manner demands the formation of comprehensive energy policies and infrastructure plans.
These, in turn, require a detailed understanding of available wind resources and their variability over time and space. To fill this crucial information gap, the Masdar Institute sought Vaisala's advanced wind analysis capabilities and extensive experience in large-scale renewable energy mapping efforts.
Masdar sees the UAE Wind Atlas as a mission critical tool for evaluating the country's potential, particularly due to wind's unique characteristics as a resource. "Wind information has to be generated at a number of heights and a whole altitude profile needs to be produced as different turbine technologies work at different heights," said Director Hosni Ghedira of the Masdar Institute. "Also, unlike solar, wind can vary significantly across short distances so high-resolution spatial information is vital."
With 10 years of hourly meteorological data at multiple heights and a spatial resolution of 500–meters, the wind atlas developed by Vaisala and the Masdar Institute provides a comprehensive view of the UAE's wind resource to support wind energy investment decisions. To complete the atlas, Vaisala employed an advanced ensemble modeling approach, calibrated by available observations and tested to find the most accurate fit for the country's unique local environment.
Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, said, "The launch of the UAE Wind Atlas marks another key milestone in our efforts to bring a comprehensive clean energy resource map to the global community. The support provided by Masdar Institute's Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment and Vaisala has been critical to help developers of clean energy projects find valuable information to assist in their investment decisions."
Pascal Storck, Global Manager of Energy Services at Vaisala, added, "International partnerships, such as the one we have developed with Masdar and IRENA, provide an extremely effective means of knowledge-sharing and serve as an industry-catalyst as we aim to integrate ever-increasing amounts of wind energy into existing power generation portfolios of fossil and renewable assets."
Vaisala was the first to map worldwide wind and solar resources at high-resolution and over the past 10 years has conducted further large-scale resource planning and integration studies in over 20 countries. Recognized as a world-leader in the domain, the firm recently embarked on a 3-year project with the U.S. Department of Energy to improve the reliability of wind energy forecasting in areas of complex terrain.