Wind energy potential assessment spatial decision support system

T. V. Ramachandra *, K. J. Rajeev, S. Vamsee Krishna, B. V. Shruthi
*Energy Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. Bangalore 560 012, India
Citation: Ramachandra T.V., Rajeev K.J., Vamsee Krishna S., and Shruthi B.V., 2005. WEPA: Wind energy potential assessment - spatial decision support system, Energy Education Science and Technology, 14(2): 61-80.


Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) assist in strategic decision-making activities considering spatial and temporal variables, which helps in regional planning. WEPA is a SDSS designed for assessment of wind potential spatially. A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use. Wind energy can diversify the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new types of income. Wind turbines can add a new source of property value in rural areas that have a hard time attracting new industry. Wind speed is an extremely important parameter for assessing the amount of energy a wind turbine can convert to electricity: the energy content of the wind varies with the cube (the third power) of the average wind speed. Estimation of the wind power potential for a site is the most important requirement for selecting a site for the installation of a wind electric generator and evaluating projects in economic terms. It is based on data of the wind frequency distribution at the site, which are collected from a meteorological mast consisting of wind anemometer and a wind vane and spatial parameters (like area available for setting up wind farm, landscape, etc.). The wind resource is governed by the climatology of the region concerned and has large variability with reference to space (spatial expanse) and time (season) at any fixed location.

Hence the need to conduct wind resource survey and spatial analysis constitute vital components in programs for exploiting wind energy. SDSS for assessing wind potential of a region / location is designed with user friendly GUI's (Graphic User Interface) using visual basic as front end with microsoft Access database (backend). Validation and pilot testing of WEPA SDSS has been done with the data collected for 45 locations in Karnataka based on primary data at selected locations and data collected from the meteorological observatories of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Wind energy and its characteristics have been analyzed for these locations to generate user-friendly reports and spatial maps. Energy Pattern Factor (EPF) and Power Densities are computed for sites with hourly wind data. With the knowledge of EPF and mean wind speed, mean power density is computed for the locations with only monthly data. Wind energy conversion systems would be most effective in these locations during May to August. The analyses show that coastal and dry arid zones in Karnataka have good wind potential, which if exploited would help local industries, coconut and areca plantations, and agriculture. Premonsoon availability of wind energy would help in irrigating these orchards, making wind energy a desirable alternative.

Correspondig Author :
Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, INDIA.
  Tel : 91-80-23600985 / 22932506 / 22933099,
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