Contact: Andrew Blakers
Investigators: Andrew Blakers, Matt Stocks, Liam Hayes
Historical offshore wind speed and wind generation data
Accurate long-term wind speed and wind generation data is important for investment decisions for offshore wind farms. windatlas.xyz aims to help the global community of energy researchers, market operators and policy makers by providing easy access to historical wind data. Up to 40 years (1980-2019) of hourly wind speeds and hourly wind generation predictions for any offshore location within 200km of the coast can be downloaded. The wind speeds were sourced from the ERA5 dataset, the current best meteorological reanalysis for wind energy modelling. Wind farm generation predictions are modelled from wind speeds and validated against 40 European offshore wind farms.
Watch the introduction video here:
Wind energy is the second leading source of new electricity generation capacity deployment globally after solar photovoltaics. Offshore wind is a key driver of wind energy growth, with the Global Wind Council predicting annual installations will reach 20 Gigawatts (GW) by 2025. This growth has corresponded with decreases of the levelised cost of off-shore wind by two thirds from US$225/MWh to US$83/MWh with forecasts of US$58/MWh in 2025, increasing its economic attractiveness. Due to limited land availability and a generally superior wind resource, more densely populated regions such as Japan and Europe are likely to depend on offshore wind for the bulk of their electricity needs despite its higher cost. For example, the British Government has recently announced plans for 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, sufficient to power all UK homes.
Wind is a variable renewable electricity source, in that the generation is non-dispatchable and dependent upon the variation of the wind resource. As the fraction of variable generation increases in an electricity system, supply and demand needs to be balanced with energy storage and other dispatchable supply. Good understanding of the variability of the generation spatially across the electricity system over extended time periods is important to determine the scale of dispatchable support needed. Accurate time series of potential offshore wind generation are required for both energy cost and balancing cost estimation. Long term energy traces with hourly resolution are a key input to optimisation models used to determine potential renewable energy mixes.
The wind speed data made available on windatlas.xyz is provided “as is”. The best effort has been made to ensure the data are free from errors and provide a true and accurate reflection of real wind speeds. However, a full guarantee cannot be provided. Sites that appear to be commercially viable for wind farm development based on data from this site may be limited by geological, hydrological, environmental, heritage and other factors. As with all major engineering projects, diligent attention to quality assurance would be required for safety and efficacy.
Figure 1. API for downloading wind data.
Figure 2. Interactive map.
Figure 3. Webpage for downloading wind data.