Average wind speed data

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local wind survey equipment

UK average wind speed data

The UK Department of Trade and Industry used to publish a database of average wind speed data for every 1km grid square in the country, known as the NOABL database. The database no longer appears on the DTI website, but a version of it can still be accessed courtesy of an organisation named Renew-Reuse-Recycle (click here for NOABL database). The data is estimated rather than measured, and takes no account of local features such as walls, buildings, trees and hilltops, which occur at a scale of much less than 1km. These features make a major difference to the wind. To quote the DTI web page: "The data can only be used as a guide and should be followed by on-site measurements for a proper assessment".

In any case, average wind speed is not a reliable predictor of wind turbine output, because the relationship between wind speed and power output is not linear. For example, compare two days: one when the wind blows steadily at 8 mph all day, and another when the wind blows at 16 mph for 12 hours and there is no wind at all for the other 12 hours. Both days have an average wind speed of 8mph, but most turbines would produce more than twice as much power on the second day. One way to approach the problem is to embark on complex statistical calculations involving the 'Rayleigh wind speed distribution'; a simpler method is to carry out a wind survey in the exact spot where the turbine is to be mounted.