• Wind maps and data

    Harnessing wind power

    Wind energy is highly variable. Wind projects face a number of challenges:

    • average wind speed for a location can vary significantly according to time of day and season
    • wind resources for a location are affected by local topography, including hills, buildings and other structures
    • the costs of integrating wind energy into electricity systems are increasing with uptake.

    This means local wind resource assessments are essential before siting test mast equipment.

    Wind resource assessment in Australia: a planner’s guide

    This 2003 report is by the Wind Energy Research Unit at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The report outlines considerations in selecting wind farm locations. It includes a number of national wind energy resource quality maps.

    Renewable Energy Atlas of Australia

    This map shows average annual wind velocity across Australia. The map came from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Atlas of Australia, with data from Windlab Systems (a commercial offshoot of CSIRO’s wind energy program). The Renewable Energy Atlas is no longer available online.

    Data on wind velocity

    The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the national weather agency, compiles wind data for Western Australia. Be aware that using BOM maps and data alone could give an inaccurate estimate of wind resources for an area. Much of the data has a low sampling frequency and there is limited consideration of local topography.

    BOM's website provides the following links:

    • average wind velocity – national maps of average monthly wind velocity and direction, modelled on data from 2004 to 2008, with underlying grid data at a resolution of 0.125 degrees (approximately 12.5 km)
    • climate data online – monthly statistics of average wind velocity and direction at two daily recording times (9:00am and 3:00pm) by weather station, with over 100 years of historic data for some weather stations
    • data requests – for a small fee you can order a DVD of wind velocity data, typically recorded between one and eight times per day, for individual weather stations or across all stations and available years. One-minute interval wind velocity recordings, giving an indication of wind variability, are also available from approximately 60 weather stations in WA, mostly around the Perth metropolitan area and some other regional centres.
    • weather station directory – a summary of weather station locations in WA and the types of data that each records