Global estimations of wind energy potential considering seasonal air density changes

Ulazia, Alain; Sáenz, Jon; Ibarra-Berastegi, Gabriel; Gonzalez-Rojí, Santos J.; Carreno-Madinabeitia, Sheila (2019). Global estimations of wind energy potential considering seasonal air density changes. Energy, 187, p. 115938. Elsevier 10.1016/

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The literature typically considers constant annual average air density when computing the wind energy potential of a given location. In this work, the recent reanalysis ERA5 is used to obtain global seasonal estimates of wind energy production that include seasonally varying air density. Thus, errors due to the use of a constant air density are quantified. First, seasonal air density changes are studied at the global scale. Then, wind power density errors due to seasonal air density changes are computed. Finally, winter and summer energy production errors due to neglecting the changes in air density are computed by implementing the power curve of the National Renewable Energy Laboratorys 5 MW turbine. Results show relevant deviations for three variables (air density, wind power density, and energy production), mainly in the middle-high latitudes (Hudson Bay, Siberia, Patagonia, Australia, etc.). Locations with variations from −6% to 6% are identified from summers to winters in the Northern Hemisphere. Additionally, simulations with the aeroelastic code FAST for the studied turbine show that instantaneous power production can be affected by greater than 20% below the rated wind speed if a day with realistically high or low air density values is compared for the same turbulent wind speed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Gonzalez Rojí, Santos José


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Santos José Gonzalez Rojí

Date Deposited:

15 Apr 2021 17:03

Last Modified:

18 Apr 2021 03:02

Publisher DOI:





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