Offshore wind energy potential for Bahrain via multi-criteria evaluation

Current global commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases encourage national targets for renewable generation. Due to its small land mass, offshore wind could help Bahrain to fulfill its obligations. However, no scoping study has yet been carried out. The methodology presented here addresses this research need. It employs Analytical Hierarchy Process and pairwise comparison methods in a Geographical Information Systems environment. Publicly available land use, infrastructure and transport data are used to exclude areas unsuitable for development due to physical and safety constraints. Meteorological and oceanic opportunities are ranked, then competing uses are analyzed to deliver optimal sites for wind farms. The potential annual wind energy yield is calculated by dividing the sum of optimal areas by a suitable turbine footprint, to deliver maximum turbine number. Ten favourable wind farm areas were identified in Bahrain’s territorial waters, representing about 4% of the total maritime area, and capable of supplying 2.68 TWh/yr of wind energy or almost 10% of the Kingdom’s annual electricity consumption. Detailed maps of potential sites for offshore wind construction are provided in the paper, giving an initial plan for installation in these locations.