Wind map

Seattle-based 3TIER has unveiled what it claims is the first-ever global wind map, which people will be able to view for free on the internet.

‘Communities in developing countries finally will have – at little or no cost – the information to help them decide whether renewable energy can power their communities,’ said Kenneth Westrick, 3TIER CEO and founder.

‘These maps will help leaders and developers throughout the world assess their renewable energy potential and make important policy and economic decisions as a result,’ he added.

The map provides global wind data at an 80m height over a 15km area for a single year. As a result, 3TIER determined that more than 40 per cent of the world’s land mass has wind speeds at more than 6m per second. Even though some of that land is not accessible for commercial development, the potential for future renewable projects is quite large.

‘This 15km map is meant to answer initial questions about what kind of wind potential exists globally,’ Westrick said. ‘The map provides enough resolution so countries and organisations can begin to look at the potential wind resource at a regional level. It will also help locate sites that are not currently obvious or known.’

Currently, less than one-tenth of one per cent of the global land mass has been developed for large-scale wind projects.

Over the next 21 months, 3TIER plans to continue to map the world at 5km, country by country, based upon a priority order that takes into account such issues as renewable energy policies, availability of the wind resource, and economic status.

Beginning in 2009, the company also plans to release solar resource assessment maps for regions around the world based on a quarterly basis.