Wind power is a safe form
of renewable energy and is one of the most promising alternative energy
sources. Worldwide, the wind power industry has been rapidly growing recently.
It is crucial that the locating of new projects must address both environmental
and social concerns. The Red Sea shoreline in Egypt provides excellent wind
power potential sites for the Red Sea Governorate. In this study, appropriate
zones for wind power farms were mapped using remotely sensed data and a
GIS-based model namely Spatial Multi-Criteria Evaluation (SMCE). This model
incorporated several criteria, two sets of factors and a set of constraints.
First, resource factors included wind speed, elevation zones used to derive the
wind power density. Second, economic factors included distances from urban
areas, roads and power-lines. Third, land constraints were excluded from the
evaluation. The land constraints set included land slope angles, shoreline,
urban areas, protectorates airports and ecologically sensitive and historical
areas. The Analytical Hierarchy Process was used to assign the criteria
relative weights. The weighted criteria and constraints maps were combined in
the MCE model. The model identified the zones with potential wind power energy.
Such zones were found to exist along the northern parts of the Red Sea
shoreline. Some of which are unsuitable due to their location within a
sensitive eco-system, high slopes and/or a nearby airport. By excluding such
land constrains, the model identified the most appropriate zones satisfying all
assigned suitability conditions for wind farms. Ideal zones amount to 706 sq.
km with suitability values ranging from 83% to 100% and highly suitable zones
amount to 3781 sq. km having suitability values ranging from 66% to 83%.
One of the main concerns of
physical planning is the proper designation of suitable sites for feasible and
sustainable land use. A main importance of such issue is that it withdraws
attention to the necessity of adopting a multidisciplinary approach to the
zoning and site selection problem. Egypt has a top priority objective to
develop Sinai Peninsula and to create new sustainable and attracting
communities that should ensure a stable, economic and sustainable environment
in vast desert zones. Due to the difficulty in solving a zoning problem in a
desert, the use of remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) was to explore the desert potentials
in the region. Five sub-models were created for five themes using Spatial
Multicriteria Analysis (SMCA) and used as inputs to the final suitability
model. These themes are: land resources, land stability, accessibility, cost of
construction and land protection. A GIS-based model was designed following a
sustainable development approach. Economic, social and environmental factors
were introduced in the model to identify and map land suitable zones for urban
development using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). The suitability index map
for urban development was produced by weighted overlay of the five sub-models
themes. The most suitable zones for urban development in Sinai Peninsula
amounted to 5327 square kilometers representing 17% of total area, whereas high
suitable zones reached 40% indicating a high suitability of Sinai Peninsula
lands for residing new urban communities.