A global wind atlas for improving global wind power utilization was launched on 21 October. Denmark has played a key role in developing the wind atlas, which is a free tool for world energy planners.
The new wind atlas which is available to the public, provides a more detailed global dataset than ever before, giving energy planners more precise wind data for specific areas. The atlas will play a key role in the development of future wind models and can thus contribute to improving the global exploitation of wind energy.
“Denmark currently derives 40 per cent of its electricity from wind turbines, and the wind energy sector is of great importance in terms of energy supply and job creation in Denmark. I am delighted that Denmark has contributed to developing the new wind atlas, so that other countries also have a sound basis for wind exploitation. Denmark has previously collaborated with South Africa to develop a South African wind atlas which has further developed the country’s wind energy sector,“ says Lars Christian Lilleholt, Danish Minister For Energies, Utilities and Climate.
Technical University of Denmark (DTU) leads the world when it comes to wind model development, and DTU has also played a key role in the technical development of the new wind atlas.
“A wind turbine’s electricity production can be improved dramatically if placed in the optimum location. With the new atlas we can identify the best areas—even on a global scale,” says Kenneth Thomsen, Innovation Manager at DTU Wind Energy.
High demand in developing countries
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the global wind atlas is in high demand from many developing countries seeking technical knowledge in connection with the development of a green energy policy. The atlas can also be used to identify countries where a more balanced and verified mapping of wind resources would result in increased wind energy exploitation. Having pinpointed promising wind resources, the next step will be to contact the large wind turbine manufacturers such as Danish Vestas Wind Systems.
“The global wind atlas is a tremendous asset for all nations looking to explore the possibilities for wind energy, and naturally, Vestas is interested in helping to identify the best wind energy solution for the specific wind conditions,” says Morten Dyhrholm, Vice President of Global Public Affairs at Vestas.
Facts about the global wind atlas
Denmark is a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is responsible for the Global Atlas for Renewable Energy project. The new global wind atlas will become a part of IRENA Global Atlas together with data from 1,500 databases, which are compared with the the geographic information system (GIS) and the Global Atlas Pocket software program. IRENA brings together more than 50 organizations from 67 countries, all of which have contributed to the development activities over the past four years.
Data sources and methodology are described in detail, so there is an atmosphere of openness surrounding the methods in relation to the wind energy sector. The new wind atlas supplies wind resource data all the way down to one-kilometre spatial resolution based on calculations of an even higher resolution. Following publication, the new atlas can be found here. Parties with a particular interest in modelling and in-depth analyses can visit DTU’s Global Wind Atlas server.
IRENA’s global wind atlas is funded by a wide range of institutions. Denmark’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) has contributed DKK 6.95 million to the project, while the figure for DTU is DKK 1.25 million.
Preparation of specific national wind atlases verified by measurements also feature in the Danish Ministry of Energy Utilities and Climate’s bilateral cooperation with South Africa and Mexico. The same method is now also being used by the World Bank in their efforts to further wind energy utilization in other countries—including Pakistan and Vietnam.