Wind Energy Models and Tools

A number of tools are available that provide modeling, mapping, and optimization for wind energy applications.


  • System Advisor Model (SAM): Assists with decision-making for people involved in the renewable energy industry through performance and financial modeling. SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that the model user specifies.

  • Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) Models: Estimates economic impacts from power projects. Models for wind power include distributed wind, utility-scale wind, and offshore wind.

  • Small Wind Economic Model: Allows users to estimate the performance and economics of potential distributed wind turbine projects, with a focus on certified residential turbines.


  • Wind Energy Permitting Toolkits: Includes information on how jurisdictions can standardize their zoning regulations and permitting processes to ensure safe and cost-effective wind energy development that is appropriate for their community. Strategies are provided for large-scale wind projects connected to transmission lines and small-scale projects intended for on-site use. This toolkit focuses on local zoning, planning, and permitting issues at the county or municipality level. Developed by the Northwest Wind Resource and Action Center.

  • EISPC EZ Mapping Tool: Helps identify potential areas within the eastern United States that may be suitable for clean power generation.

  • DoD Siting Clearinghouse: Gives users a comprehensive, expedited evaluation of energy projects and their potential effect on Department of Defense (DoD) operations, such as radar. Developers must complete information for the DoD before siting their projects.

  • West-Wide Wind Mapping Project. The West-Wide Wind Mapping Project maps wind energy resources on public lands and identifies existing land use exclusions and other potential resource sensitivities that may affect wind energy development opportunities.

  • Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization Tool: Identifies and prioritizes renewable energy projects at a single site or across a portfolio of sites in multiple cities, states, or countries, each with its own energy requirements, resources, goals, and constraints.

  • RE-Powering’s Electronic Decision Tree: Assesses contaminated lands for solar and wind energy development potential. The Wind Energy Decision Tree, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s RE-Powering America Land Initiative, is a useful tool not only for projects on contaminated lands but also for general siting.

  • Wind Prospector: Helps developers view high-level siting issues with large-scale wind farms by providing easy access to GIS-based wind resource datasets and other data relevant to siting wind power projects. Wind developers gather their own wind speed and other information at project locations throughout the development process.

  • Distributed Wind Site Analysis Tool: Allows users to input location and terrain information about a potential wind system site in the United States and predict the energy output and environmental benefits of that site. The standard version of the tool, which is free, was developed in partnership with the U.S Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Encraft.

  • United States Wind Turbine Database: Allows users to discover and learn more about wind turbine sites throughout the United States. This database was jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office via the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Electricity Markets and Policy Group, the U.S. Geological Survey Energy Resources Program, and the American Wind Energy Association.

  • U.S. Department of Energy’s State and Local Energy Data (SLED) online tool: Provides state and local decision makers with easy access to energy data specific to their location that can be used to support strategic energy planning processes and deployment of clean energy projects. By entering a city and state or ZIP code into the SLED tool, users can see how their current electricity prices compare to the state and national averages, learn about applicable policies and incentives that could affect clean energy projects in their state, and find renewable energy resources.

  • State Statutes on Wind Facility Siting: Provides a searchable database of all state statutes, including links. Developed by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Northeast Ocean Data Portal: Provides user-friendly access to maps, data, tools, and information needed by government entities, non-government organizations, and ocean stakeholders to support ocean planning, management, and decision making from Long Island Sound to the Gulf of Maine. Developed by the Northeast Regional Planning Body.

  • Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool: Mapping Fish and Wildlife across the West: This Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies tool was developed to aid land use planning efforts.

  • American Wind Wildlife Institute’s Landscape Assessment Tool: This GIS-based mapping tool collates and displays biological information that is relevant to wind-energy development.