Masdar Institute’s Collaborative Role in Developing Global Solar and Wind Atlas Highlighted at Rio+20 Summit in Brazil

June 21, 2012

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology continues to play a vital role in developing, hosting, and maintaining the global renewable energy atlas within its commitment to building the global value chain of renewable energy potentials, databases and atlases, according to Dr. Taha B. M. J. Ouarda, Deputy Director of UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment at Masdar Institute.

Dr Ouarda was offering a presentation titled ‘Adapted wind resource modeling in the GCC region’ at the Rio+20 Summit of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, being held from 20-22 June in Rio de Janeiro. More than 50,000 participants from governments, companies and environmental and non-government groups have gathered in the Brazilian city to set new goals across seven core themes including food security, water and energy.

As an institution that remains committed to sustainability, Masdar Institute has sent a delegation to proactively drive participation at the event. The institute’s collaboration with its partners including the Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on some of the leading projects, including the Solar Atlas are being showcased at the event.

In his presentation, Dr. Ouarda, specialist in hydrometeorology, wind resource analysis, environmental and public health modeling, and risk analysis, highlighted that the Center provides renewable primary energy resource assessment capability to make the UAE a hub and knowledge center for renewable energy technology development. One of the projects of the Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment, the Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy is a collection of geo-linked data layers that together provide detailed insights on availability and cost of renewable energy.

Dr Ouarda said: “Innovation in the field of renewable energy lies in developing state-of-the-art techniques that are adapted to the local climate and environment. Of-the-shelf tools are not necessarily adapted to produce adequate results in the UAE and the GCC countries. The selection of the appropriate distribution and the adequate values of the parameters have the most impact on wind power estimation.

“Such developed tools can then be used and adapted in other countries with similar conditions like the GCC region as well as the Sahel region in Africa. The center in Abu Dhabi will share its knowledge and empower others to draw from its ideas and actions for a sustainable future.”

The Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy, an initiative of the Department for Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of IRENA, is supported by the Dubai Supreme Council for Energy and Masdar Institute’s Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment.

Dr Ouarda added: “Traditional approaches for the modeling of wind potential are based on the hypothesis of ‘stationarity’ and the fitting of a probability density function to the wind speed data. Classical frequency analysis of wind characteristics using the Weibull distribution shows that there is a need to integrate non-stationarity in the modeling and estimation of future wind potential.”

Through participating in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group, the Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment aims to position the UAE as regional leader in renewable energy mapping and assessment.

Additionally, the Center seeks to build local technical and human capacity for renewable primary energy resource assessment as well as develop a global renewable energy atlas starting with the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula.

Holder of a PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, Dr. Ouarda has developed several approaches for the estimation of extreme hydro-meteorological events on local and regional scales, developed several methodologies for the modeling of hydro-meteorological variables under changing environments, and developed several computer softwares that deal with a range of problems in water resources and environmental engineering. He has also led several international projects dealing with hydro-meteorological modeling, environmental analysis and the links between climate evolution, the environment, and public health.

Recipient of a number of prestigious awards, Dr. Ouarda sits on the editorial boards of a number of international scientific journals such as the Hydrological Sciences Journal.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.