In the present study the energy potential of wind for the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is investigated. A suitable Weibull distribution is generated based on the data obtained for a duration of one complete year at a costal location in northeastern Saudi Arabia. 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 and a model of quadratic power output function is used. It is found that the error in using the Rayleigh approximation will be less than 10% of the full rated power density level. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.