The ability to assess and characterize available wind resources is critical to the development, siting, and operation of a wind power plant.
WINDExchange has released new wind resource maps to help accurately define, measure, and forecast the nation’s land-based and offshore wind resources.
New land-based maps are now available for Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oklahoma. WINDExchange will continue to add new resource maps throughout the year, so stay tuned!
Find maps and charts showing wind energy data and trends.
The map shows land area with a gross capacity factor of 35% and higher, which may be suitable for wind energy development. AWS Truepower LLC produced the wind resource data with a spatial resolution of 200 m, which was binned into 20-km grid cells. Map shading shows the amount of area with the potential to be developed within each 20-km cell: the darker the color, the larger the potentially developable area within each cell. Areas that are excluded from development by law, such as wilderness areas and national parks, and other areas unlikely to be developed, such as urban areas and water bodies, have also been excluded.
Site evaluation for wind projects should be coordinated with appropriate authorities and should consider potential effects on local resources and land uses, including but not limited to impacts on wildlife, sound, visual, radar, aviation, safety and local priorities. Various federal agencies have authorities relating to the siting and permitting of wind plants, depending on the location and resources that might be affected. For example, potential impacts to air traffic and military missions are evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse through the FAA’s airspace obstruction evaluation process. Potential impacts to migratory birds or endangered species are evaluated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other federal agencies that may have a role include, but are not limited to, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for projects impacting wetlands and waterways and the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service for projects on federal lands. Similar state, tribal, and local agencies may also have jurisdiction.
This map was produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) using modeled wind resource estimates developed by NREL via the Wind Integration National Dataset (WIND) Toolkit and is intended for general educational purposes only. While these 100-meter wind speed maps can provide a general indication of good or poor wind resources, they do not provide a resolution high enough to identify local site features such as complex terrain, ground cover, and data needed prior to siting a wind project.
Watch a video tutorial for understanding land-based and offshore wind resource maps. See more wind resource maps, download wind datasets from NREL, and learn more about wind resource assessment and characterization on DOE’s website.