Engineering Essay Paper on Wind Energy in Different Locations in Saudi Arabia

Wind Energy in Different Locations in Saudi Arabia


            The unfavorable effect of climate change, including tsunami, floods, and forest fires, has become very common in recent years as a result of the alarmingly rising population levels and as a result, has led to the increase in demand for power. Every megawatt of electricity that is generated using fossil fuels adds approximately half a ton of greenhouse gases equivalent carbon dioxide into the ambiance. The accumulating impact of quick depletion of fossil fuels, distressingly increasing the levels of environmental pollution, and at the same time, increasingly emerging awareness of environmental degradation has increased the use of renewable sources of energy, including wind energy, solar energy hydro energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy as well as bio-energy. Among these sources, the speedy growth of wind energy conversion technology has become a substitute for the conservative energy schemes in the current years. Wind energy is among the quickest growing sources of energy and is getting universal consideration because of the technological improvements for harnessing the wind energy as well as its competitive cost of production as compared to the other conventional means. For the purpose of conserving the traditional sources of power and to tackle the ecological issues, the use of wind power is the solution to these issues (Mahbub 4082). The universal wind energy installed capacity is increasing speedily as a result of new projects being commissioned in various parts globally. The work on wind energy source evaluation in Saudi Arabia began in the year 1986 when hourly wind speed data were used in the development of a wind Atlas in the country. This paper, therefore, is an analysis of wind energy in different locations in Saudi Arabia (Al-Abbadi 1490).

Wind power in Saudi Arabia

            The technological improvements in the design and construction of windmills have made the electricity production by the use of wind energy a highly efficient and economically viable process and the world’s quickest growing form of electricity production. The current universal development of wind power has encouraged the scientific and research group in Saudi Arabia to launch several investigations aimed at studying the probability of wind energy in the country. The introduction of wind atlas was the earliest work. The atlas was mainly based on hourly wind data that was collected at 20 airport metrological stations for the period between 1970 and 1982. The atlas indicates profiles of wind speed and energy, it analyses the day to day disparities of mean speeds and frequency distribution of wind directions and gives a presentation of the contours of mean wind speeds. The majority of the later assessments were carried out according on the atlas data (Al-Abbadi 1490). There are approximately 20 sites in Saudi Arabia that are preserved by the government where the per hour average values of metrological factors are determined and put on record. These measured parameters include the mean, maximum and minimum values of the speed and direction of wind, dry and wet bulb temperatures, the relative humidity, rain, visibility and the nature of the cloud. The data compilation program in Saudi Arabia was launched in 1970 (Rehman et at575).

            In analyzing the characteristics and pattern of wind in Saudi Arabia, Radhwan in his study found that the yearly average wind velocity distribution and frequency of occurrences were important factors in evaluating the wind energy potential of a specific site. From the data evaluation, it was found out that the potential of wind energy was promising in the northern as well as the coastal area. As a result, Radhwan recommended that small desalination units, irrigation pumps and electrical power generators could be powered by wind energy (Al-Abbadi 1490). In Saudi Arabia, there are about 5 sites within the coastal regions where meteorological statistics are being gathered. For the purpose of comparing the seasonal trend of mean wind speed at these locations at various heights, the lasting monthly average values were calculated at heights of10, 40, 50 and 60 above the ground level. Thus the hourly average wind speed at various heights was approximated by the use of 1/7th wind energy law ((Rehman 2020). The lasting recurrent tendencies of monthly average wind velocity at all the costal were determined. In the coastal region of Dhahran, the season’s maximum monthly average wind speed was estimated to be about 6.0 meters/second during the month of June, and a minimum of 4.0 meters/second during the month of October at an average height of 10 meters above the ground level. The monthly average wind speed of 5 meters/second and above was noticed during the months of May to August.  At other heights, higher values be observed, though following the same trend as at the height of 10meters (Rehman, Shafiqur & Aftab 1109).

            In the coastal region of Yanbo, the highest monthly wind velocity was identified in the month of august. This was estimated to be 6.2 meters/second while the minimum was found in the month of December at an average height of 10meters. The highest monthly average speed of that region was found to be 5 meters/second and was observed in the month of March to September. This indicates that the higher monthly with speed at the regions of Yanbo and Dhahran are comparable. At other heights, the approximated values follow the same, though with larger magnitudes. In the coastal regions of Al-Wajh and Jeddah, the seasonal variations were discovered to be minimal and almost constant values that lie within the range of 4.5 and 3.5 meters/second were observed all through the year. Finally, at the coastal region of Gizan, the maximum monthly average value of 5.2 meters/second was observed during the month of July, with a minimum of 3.8 meters/second was observed during the month of November. Higher monthly average values of 5.0 meters/second were observed during the months of July and August only. When comparing the monthly average wind speed at a height of 10 meters above the ground level for the five coastal regions, it was found that the highest values of wind speed occurred at Yanbo, the second highest in Dhahran, the third highest at Gizan while Al-Wajh and Jeddah is being observed that the values were minimal and seasonal change was missing. Generally, this diurnal behavior of hourly average wind speeds at various heights and regions is compatible with the load requirement in Saudi Arabia (Rehman, Shafiqur & Aftab 1109).

Wind Energy cost estimation in Saudi Arabia

            The economic matters concerning wind energy conversion (WEC) scheme is primarily dependent on the operative precise boundary situations. A simplified technique of calculating the cost of electricity per Kilowatt-hour comprises the investment, operation, maintenance and capital expenses. Where by, the investment expense is comprised of the WEC costs, extras, foundation, network connection, planning and licensing. The operation together with the maintenance expenses is comprised of the repairs, insurance, monitoring and management costs. The capital cost includes the interest plus the repayment loan. The availability of wind during which the wind machine is to generate electricity is normally taken as 85% (Rehman et al 579).

            The price of wind energy generation in US$ per Kilowatt-hour is determined through dividing the Present Value Cost (PVC) by the sum of Kilowatt-hours for every station. The sum of kilowatt-hours and the costs obtained for every region and for all the selected wind machines do not normally include the costs of use of manpower and the various equipments and machines at the actual site of the wind electric conversion system. In Saudi Arabia, the maximum electicity in terms of kilowatts-hour is normally obtained in Yanbo region from a 2500kw machine while the minimum is obtained in Nejran from a 2500kw wind machine.  The cost of the electricity that is produced by a 2500kw wind machine was minimal at Yanbo with the maximum cost was at Nejran. To assess the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour produced by the use of various WECs on a regional basis, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is categorized into three regions including; Region A which is comprised of Dhahran, Qaisumah, Turaif, Rafha, Badana, Al-Jouf, Al-Wajh, Tabouk and Hail. Region B which is comprised of Riyadh, Yanbo, Jeddah, Medina, Gassim,  and Taif. Region C which is comprised of Gizan, Najran, Khamis-Mushait, Bisha nad As-Sulayyil. In Region A, the cost of every kwh electricity that is generated by the use of the selected wind machine of 2500kw varied between a minimum of 0.0234 US$/kwh at the region of Dhahran and a maximum of 0.0599 US$/kwh at the region of Tabouk. At region B the cost of every kwh electricity that is generated by the use of the selected wind machine of 2500kw varied between a minimum of 0.0234 US$/kwh at the region of Yanbo and a maximum of 0.0538 US$/kwh at the region of Gassim. While at region C, the regional mean costs were discovered to be 0.053 using a 2500kw wind machine (Rehman et al 581).


Al-Abbadi, Naif M. “Wind energy resource assessment for five locations in Saudi Arabia.” Renewable Energy 30.10 (2005): 1489-1499.

Mahbub, Alam Md, et al. “Wind speed and power characteristics at different heights for a wind data collection tower in Saudi Arabia.” Wold Rewnewable Energy Congress. 2011.

Rehman, Shafiqur, and Aftab Ahmad. “Assessment of wind energy potential for coastal locations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Energy 29.8 (2004): 1105-1115.

Rehman, Shafiqur, T. O. Halawani, and M. Mohandes. “Wind power cost assessment at twenty locations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Renewable Energy 28.4 (2003): 573-583.

Rehman, Shafiqur. “Wind energy resources assessment for Yanbo, Saudi Arabia.” Energy Conversion and Management 45.13 (2004): 2019-2032.