The current version of the Global Wind Atlas (GWA 3.1) is the product of a partnership between the Department of Wind Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Wind Energy) and the World Bank Group (consisting of The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, or IFC). Work on GWA 2.0 and GWA 3.0 was primarily funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a multi-donor trust fund administered by The World Bank and supported by 13 official bilateral donors. It is part of the global ESMAP initiative on Renewable Energy Resource Mapping that includes biomass, small hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy. GWA 3.0 builds on an ongoing commitment from DTU Wind Energy to disseminate data and science on wind resources to the international community.
GWA 3.0 represents a major upgrade from GWA 2.0 and the first version of the Global Wind Atlas (GWA 1.0). GWA 1.0 was developed by DTU Wind Energy under the framework of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and, in particular, the CEM Working Group on Solar and Wind Technologies, led by Germany, Spain and Denmark. GWA 1.0 combined the WAsP microscale model with reanalysis data to provide the first freely available high resolution global map of the wind resource. GWA 1.0 was funded by the Technology Development and Demonstration Program of the Danish Energy Agency (EUDP 11-II, 64011-0347) as the Danish contribution to the objectives of the CEM working group. GWA 1.0 was launched in 2015, and benefitted from collaboration with IRENA and the MASDAR institute. These two partners had a significant impact on the development of GWA 1.0 due to their ability to bring various energy stakeholders together.
In GWA 2.0, the focus was on improving the large-scale wind resource data and the website. To provide improved large-scale wind data, the World Bank Group selected Vortex, a leading commercial provider of wind resource data analysis, to carry out a global mesoscale modeling simulation at 9km resolution using the latest, at the time, ERA Interim reanalysis data, to replace the coarser reanalysis data used in GWA 1.0. The microscale modeling in GWA 2.0 was still performed using the DTU Wind Energy WAsP methodology that was used for GWA 1.0, to carry out microscale model calculations at a 250 m grid spacing. In addition to the data improvements, DTU Wind Energy subcontracted Nazka Mapps to reimagine the GWA web-interface providing an improved user experience and enhancing the value to users of the data.
In GWA 3.0, the wind resources have been calculated even more accurately, using the best available methods and input data. This time, Vortex carried out 10 years of mesoscale time-series model simulations rather than ensemble modeling that cover the globe at a 3 km resolution, forced with the latest ERA5 reanalysis data. In addition to improved atmospheric data, GWA 3.0 used improved elevation and landcover data in the microscale modelling. The mesoscale and microscale model simulations were expanded to include locations up to 200 km from all shorelines , to provide additional information on the offshore wind resource. It also included results at two additional heights 10 m and 150 m to reduce the uncertainty when interpolating the results in the vertical.
To better understand the impacts of the improved modeling in GWA 3.0, DTU Wind Energy carried out a validation of the new dataset. This ongoing task uses data from ESMAP-funded measurement campaigns and other high-quality publicly available wind data. At the time of the GWA 3.0 release, validation has been performed using data from ESMAP-funded measurement campaigns, implemented by the World Bank, for Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, and Zambia. Finally, additional features and functionality have been added to the GWA website by DTU Wind Energy and Nazka Mapps, as part of the 3.0 launch The first feature is an energy yield calculator tool, which allows users to create downloadable GIS data for annual energy production, capacity factor, or full load hours using their own custom wind turbine power curve. The second feature allows users to explore the temporal aspect of the wind resource. The variation of the mean wind speed can be found by year, month, and hour. Users can find areas where the wind resource tends to be load-following, i.e. matching the development in hourly or monthly electricity demand. Users can also combine this information with similar temporal data e.g. solar resources available under the Global Solar Atlas, to identify areas where wind and solar complement each other seasonally or during a typical day.
The GWA website will continue to be developed, owned and operated by DTU Wind Energy. Future upgrades and improvements under the partnership with the World Bank Group and ESMAP are already planned.
DTU wishes to thank all organizations and individuals involved in the development of the Global Wind Atlas, including those not listed above, who have provided important input data, review, and feedback. In particular, DTU would like to acknowledge the funding provided by ESMAP for development of GWA 2.0 and GWA 3.0, and advice, review and other non-financial inputs provided by staff and consultants from DTU, World Bank Group (including ESMAP), and Vortex.