The data will be aimed at farmers and landowners seeking financial support through NatWest’s renewable energy fund.

NatWest launched its £50m fund to support renewable energy projects last year and has so far provided £24.4m for investors.

Potential investors are being encouraged to commission a Met Office report, called Virtual Met Mast, which defines how much wind can be relied upon at specific locations.

Virtual Met Mast is a scientific model based on the Met Office’s advanced atmospheric weather forecast system, which analyses wind information to generate long-term wind climatology at a specific site and turbine hub height.

The Met Office claims that the results can show whether the proposed development will generate enough wind to make the investment worthwhile.

Met Office senior wind consultant, Stephen Norman said: “Before the Virtual Met Mast, there was no quick, accurate and cost effective method for getting the information needed to work out how viable a potential wind project would be.

“The only options were to put up a mast for a year, which is very expensive, and to buy long-term data from a Met Office station, which could be 50 miles or more away from the site in question.

“Virtual Met Mast enables the developer or investor to obtain a more accurate wind speed prediction for a particular site, so reducing the risk surrounding wind speed estimates.

“This can help someone planning a wind project to better establish the right site and size of turbine required, and gives all parties a greater peace of mind when assessing the risks associated with the investment.”

Recent data from NatWest and the National Farmers Union show that demand is high for funding to support this sector with 30% of farmers across England and Wales involved in renewable energy projects.

Conor McGlone

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