Scientists calculate Europe's most windy regions

New European Wind Atlas will show the best locations for wind farms

Where can you find enough wind for a wind farm? Scientists from the University of Oldenburg at the Center for Wind Energy Research (ForWind) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES in cooperation with their European colleagues calculate the windiest regions of Europe. The extensive simulations as part of the international research project NEWA (New European Wind Atlas) have recently started. The atlas will provide an accurate picture of Europe's wind energy potential and assistance with the search for optimal locations for new wind farms. Researchers from eight countries are involved. The atlas is intended to replace its almost 30-year-old precursor.

Using a weather model, the researchers simulate the wind conditions of the past 30 years throughout Europe – to an accuracy of three kilometers. The calculations on the European supercomputer “MareNostrum” in Barcelona will probably take six months – a normal PC would need about 1,600 years. “With the start of the wind atlas calculations we have reached a milestone in the NEWA project. This is the result of extensive preliminary work in which we tested many different model settings and compared them with measurement data,” says ForWind scientist Dr. Björn Witha, who is significantly involved in the simulations on the German side.

The wind atlas is to be published in mid-2019 and will be available online free of charge to all interested users. For each point in Europe they can then get information about the long-term wind climate: interactive maps, time series and statistics of wind speed and other wind energy relevant parameters at various altitudes. “The range and accuracy of the New European Wind Atlas will provide a new basis for planning the wind energy use in Europe,” says Dr. Bernhard Lange, IWES scientist and coordinator of the German consortium within NEWA.

The international NEWA project started in 2015 and will receive a total of 13.5 million euros for four years from national funding programs in the partner countries and EU funds. In Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is involved. The project results should contribute to reducing the costs of electricity generation from wind farms.

NEWA website

Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES

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