Geospatial Wind Energy

Noah Syrkis & Christina Gaitanou, Jun 29, 2023

Wind energy is gaining momentum as a vital solution in the fight against climate change. This clean, renewable source of power has the potential to provide a significant percentage of our energy needs, if properly harnessed. But identifying optimal locations for wind farms is no simple task – it requires a careful balance of numerous geographical, environmental, and infrastructural factors.

Today, I am delighted to introduce you to an innovative project we've been working on: a user-friendly web application designed to identify and analyze suitable areas for wind energy production in Brazil.


A New Approach to an Age-Old Problem

Traditional methods for determining wind farm locations, such as Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), while effective, tend to be static and rigid. They don't provide much room for flexibility and dynamic exploration of potential locations based on a variety of parameters.

In contrast, our online tool leverages cutting-edge Geographic Information System (GIS) and data analysis techniques to enable users to explore suitable areas for wind farms based on their custom-defined criteria. It's an interactive, user-guided tool that produces visualizations and suitability maps for wind farm construction in real-time.

The Power of Customization

Our web application provides a dynamic map, allowing users to explore different areas within Brazil. What makes this tool especially appealing is its customization feature. Users can adjust threshold values for factors such as wind speed, distance to high voltage power lines, terrain roughness, and the power density measure by the Global Winds Atlas.

As users adjust these parameters, the map updates in real-time, reflecting the changes and offering a dynamic exploration of potential wind farm locations. The application also provides quantitative results, displaying the proportion of each selected region's area that is suitable for wind energy production, presented in both percentage and square kilometers.

A Prototype with Potential

Our analysis indicates a substantial variation in the suitability of areas within Brazil for wind energy generation. We have found that only certain regions - Rio Grande do Norte, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul, Piaui, and Nordeste - are highly suitable for wind energy production in Brazil.

But this tool is more than just an academic exercise. It is a prototype that could have real-world implications, providing a flexible and interactive tool that could prove beneficial for decision-makers and stakeholders involved in wind energy investments in Brazil.

We believe that as the search for renewable energy sources becomes increasingly crucial, tools like this will play a significant role in shaping the energy landscape. In future work, we plan to enhance our tool’s capabilities by integrating more detailed marine data, offering a broader range of infrastructural aspects, and increasing the resolution of our input data.

In conclusion, the quest for sustainable, renewable energy is not just an ecological necessity but also an opportunity for innovation, creativity, and technological advancement. As we move towards a greener future, the power of the wind is ours to harness – and with tools like ours, we can do it in a way that's smarter, more efficient, and more sustainable.