Prospective developers of wind energy projects will normally be able to refer to wind surveys in most of the developed countries in order to make a preliminary identification of sites suitable for wind farms. Wind energy associations exist in the UK, Europe and the USA and the European Union (EU) also holds Europe-wide figures. In other parts of the world the wind data that is available may be less precise, though many countries are now taking greater interest in wind resources.
Once a potential site has been identified it must be studied in more detail to confirm that it is suitable. Long- and short-term wind speed measurements will normally be needed to ascertain the wind regime. Only when these figures are available can the economics of the project be determined with any accuracy. Figures for at least one full year will normally be required, longer if possible.
Offshore projects require the same attention as onshore schemes but offshore wind data is less likely to be available. European offshore surveys exist and there have been some limited surveys of offshore North American sites. It is possible to gain an estimate of the wind regime in an offshore area from satellite images. These can provide an indication of sea roughness from which wind speed can be calculated. As with an onshore site, accurate measurements over at least a year will then be needed to confirm the local wind regime.
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