Monday, February 17, 2014

"GIS for Wind Energy: A Case of UAE" 

Familiar in GIS literature is the use of spatial analysis to calculate mean weather conditions to potentially suggest locations for renewable energy sources throughout the world. In this article, the authors use the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a case study to suggest suitable areas for wind energy generation in the desert-nation. The authors observed the time period from 2004-2007 to collected wind data, obtained from the UAE National Center of Meteorology and Seismology, with a total of 34 weather stations' data included. 

The authors' analysis used wind speed as the main selection factor, using a formula to detect wind velocity in addition to density of the air. Wind speeds greater than 3.5m/s are required for wind energy sources connected to the electrical power grid. The authors employed the Spatial Analyst-Grid format extension within GIS, mapping potential locations of wind energy that were subsequently interpolated using the Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) method. The results of the data show that only 9 out of 34 meteorological locations had average wind speeds exceeding 4m/s. 

The map below depicts areas with high potential wind energy, or the most obvious locations to build wind-energy sources. 

The average monthly wind speed at the top stations varied between 4.17-5.28m/s, with estimated wind power varying between 44-90w/m^2. The authors firmly believe that with new wind energy turbines that can be powered at a wind speed of 4-5m/s, there is a possibility of establishing wind farms along the north-western coastal areas of Abu Dhabi. The overarching theme of this article, however, is that remote sensing images and GIS functions "provide good management and screening tools for the initial wind energy assessment" (20). 

Yagoub, M. M. (2010). GIS for Wind Energy: A Case of UAE. International Journal of Geoinformatics, 6 (3), 13-20. 


  1. I wonder if using this process of spacial analysis to asses the varying wind patterns in the UAE can be applied to areas of Northern Africa where the geography is roughly the same (such as Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, etc.) and set up wind farms to power areas of the country with access to electricity (or introduce!).

  2. Did the authors also asses the viability of construction and location for wind farms? To clarify, are all of the viable locations based on average wind speed also viable from an economical perspective?