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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%.