The energy potential of wind for the eastern region of Saudi Arabia is investigated based on measurements of a complete year data at a coastal location in eastern Saudi Arabia. A suitable Weibull distribution is generated and a comparison of this model is made with the Rayleigh distribution of wind power densities. Two horizontal-axis type of wind energy conversion systems which operate at fixed rpm are considered for the determination of the extractable wind power, and a model of quadratic power output function is used between the cut-in speed and rated speed. It is shown that small-scale wind energy systems are suitable in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia for power generation and irrigation purposes. Copyright (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.