Find us on Linkedin
Receive insights from Traverse
Subscribe below
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

WindDesk Discover: Prospect for Wind Farms Straight From Your Browser

WindDesk Discover is a free online tool you can use straight from your browser to prospect for wind farms. There have been numerous "wind technical potential heat maps" that have been published but they suffer from:

  • the inability to provide the exact turbine layout, capacity and capacity factor (because its just a map)
  • being an entirely static single map - it is an opinionated final score and you cannot differentiate the input ingredients (where exactly is the substation? what is the windspeed?)
  • sometimes published as a PDF making you guess between shades of Racing Green vs. Jasmine Green
  • sitting behind a paywall or login-wall of some kind

We built WindDesk Discover to solve some of the problems above. It's a work in progress and we will be publishing new features every other week or so. You can use it right now at and below is a walkthrough of prospecting for ONE windfarm in pictures.

Note it only works:

  • in Southeast Asia (more regions coming soon)
  • on a desktop or laptop computer (would be somewhat clunky on an iPad and impossible on a phone)

Where is it?


The Layout Generator

1. When you first arrive, it looks like this.

2. Turn on the windspeed layer at 100m.

Notice the mean windspeed has BOTH coloring and the contour lines in meters per second.

3. Zoom to any red colored location using middle mouse scroll. If you have no scroller, you can double tap or double click the location. Click "Draw Boundary" to draw a polygon on the map.

4. To complete the polygon, click on the first point you started with. It should not exceed 1,000 km2 (which is extremely large actually). Fill in the Wind Farm Name and the Max Capacity too.

You can adjust the polygon by doing the following:

  • Click on any of the lines of the polygon once
  • Drag the vertices
  • Click outside the polygon

5. Click "Generate" to get your wind farm layout!

What is the heuristic for choosing these turbine locations? Currently it is simplistic so that it can be fast (but we will improve on it to be complex and also fast later):

  • Start at the highest wind speed location within the boundary you chose.
  • Draw a default spacing ellipse of 6D by 3D.
  • Place the next turbine that is the next highest wind speed outside of the ellipse.
  • Then place another turbine.
  • Redo all the above again by moving the first turbine a small amount.
  • Choose the layout with the highest average wind speed across all turbines.
  • The predominant wind direction, which changes the ellipse orientation is retrieved automatically - this affects the space available to pack the turbines.
  • Three classes of popular Vestas turbines are iterated to check which one provides the highest energy output given the wind regime in the locale. However, this is very rudimentary.

You can override some of the parameters by checking the "Set advanced settings" checkbox. You will also notice a number of "coming soon!" outputs. Subscribe to our newsletter on the left side of this page if you want to be notified of any new releases.

6. Now anywhere on the map, hold down right click button and move your mouse gently to get the 3D view of the whole area. Zoom in and out and pan around to adjust the view port.

7. On the "Layers" container (left most), turn off the wind speed raster by clicking "None" under Resource to view elevation contour lines:

8. To view satellite imagery, turn on "Satellite" (at the top of the container):

9. Would this still work if you tried to cram more turbines in? Try it out by changing Max Capacity from 100MW to 500MW and click "Generate" again:

That's a crazy number of turbines. Note that the maximum capacity allowed currently is 500MW.

10. Works for offshore too!

11. To save the KML file of this layout, press "Get KML" and it will be emailed to you. The KML file includes each turbine's mean wind speed information too.

The Geo Information Layers

You can toggle all kinds of GIS maps for the entire region. We have tried our best to make them "decision making friendly". They are heavily processed to distill out the most valuable insight you can have. Described below is only those that might not be self explanatory:

Substation Proximity

The contour lines show how far is the nearest substation. Note that this information is not always accurate as national database are sometimes outdated. We processed this to ensure small distribution stations were not part of the dataset and only high voltage stations were considered.

Protected Areas

Protected areas are straightforward!

High Slope Zones

These are places with slopes of 17 degrees (~30%) or more. This layer should be turned on when using the Layout Generator. Currently for performance reasons, the layout generator ignores the 17 degree slopes but this should be fixed in a future update.

Road Proximity

Check legends on bottom right to see what the colors mean. The road proximity map gives an indication of how far away is the wind proposed wind farm from the nearest road. The "nearest road" is not a straight line distance but it considers mountains and hills that new roads will have to be built to reach. There are 3 subcategories of roads (primary, secondary and tertiary). Primary roads include large multilane highways and toll roads to 4 lane roads. Secondary means approximate 2 to 3 land roads and tertiary means roads below 2 lanes. Very small roads such as tracks that a passenger vehicle can pass through are not in tertiary roads. Lastly, when you toggle on secondary, it means BOTH primary and tertiary and if you toggle on tertiary, it means primary, second and tertiary all combined. Check legends on bottom right to see what the colors mean.

Population Density Proximity

This map is the proximity contours of the nearest "industrial" town that has at least 3,000 people per km2. Check legends on bottom right to see what the colors mean.

Future Roadmap and Feedback

We have a laundry list of low hanging fruit ideas that we were looking at. But we are looking for feedback from users too to see which ones to prioritize:

  • More regions - in fact it should be globally available!
  • Layout generator should provide capacity factor, LCOE, IRR and other metrics.
  • Layout generator should provide a rudimentary band of CAPEX.
  • Ability to add your own turbine model.
  • Ability to upload your own KML for boundary instead of drawing it here.
  • Exact substation names should appear instead of just the contour lines.
  • Include land use map of dwellings and agriculture.
  • Include maps of ports, airports, earthquake, bathymetry, shipping lanes and large transmission line paths.

Do let us know what you think! We would deeply appreciate any feedback - you can just email us directly at .

About Traverse

If you prospected for a site on WindDesk Discover and would like to take it to the next stage, Traverse provides wind analysis, energy yield assessments, wind engineering and owner's engineer services. We have done over 10GW projects in various stages for IPPs, utilities and developers alike. Check out our website or drop us a line at .

Subscribe to our newsletter today

Enjoyed this post? Receive the next one in your inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.