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Techno-economic assessment of establishment of wind farms in different provinces of Saudi Arabia to mitigate future energy challenges

In the present study, the techno-economic feasibility of development of 15 MW wind power plants (wind farms) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (K.S.A) has been investigated by analyzing long-term wind speed data. To achieve this aim, two geographically distinct sites covering different non-coastal locations of the K.S.A. have been selected. Long-term data indicates that the yearly average wind speed of K.S.A. varies from 3.0 - 4.5 m/s at 10 m height. The wind farms simulated consist of different combinations of 600 kW commercial wind machines (50 m hub-height). NREL's (HOMER Energy's) HOMER software has been employed to perform the analysis. The study presents the monthly variations of wind speed, cumulative frequency distribution (CFD) profiles of wind speed, monthly and yearly amount of energy generated from the proposed 15 MW wind farms (50 m hub-height) at different non-coastal locations of K.S.A., cost of generating energy (COE, $/kWh), capacity factor (%), etc. The CFD indicates that the wind speeds are less than 3 m/s for 48% and 59% of the time during the year at Badanah (Northern province) and Khamis-Mashayt (Southern province) respectively. This implies that wind electric conversion systems (WECS) or wind farms will not produce energy for 48% of the time during the year at Badanah and for 59% at Khamis-Mashayt. The annual energy produced by 15 MW wind farms (50 m hub-height) has been found to be 18778 and 11314 MWh at Northern and Southern provinces respectively. The cost of wind-based electricity by using 600 kW (50m hub-height) commercial WECS has been found to be 0.0612 and 0.1016 US$/kWh for Badanah and Khamis-Mushayt respectively. Also, the capacity factor (CF) of the wind-based power plant has been found to vary from 9 to 15% for the considered locations.
PAPER REVISED: 2018-01-27
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2018-03-10
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