In this study, two different approaches to estimate the wind resource over the German Bight in the North Sea are compared: the mesoscale meteorological model MM5 and the wind resource assessment program WAsP. The dynamics of the atmosphere of the year 2004 was simulated with the MM5 model, with input from the NCEP global model, without directly utilizing measurement data. WAsP estimations were calculated on the basis of six measurement stations: three on islands, two offshore and one onshore. The annual mean wind speed at onshore, offshore and island sites is estimated by both models. The predictions are compared both with each other and with measured data. A spatial comparison of the wind resource calculated by the two models is made by means of a geographical information system. The results show that the accuracy of the WAsP predictions depends mainly on the measurement station used as input. Small differences are shown in the estimations performed by the three island stations, despite the large geographical distance between them. Compared with the measurements of the offshore sites, they seem to be suitable for estimating the offshore wind resource from measurements on land. The two offshore stations show differences when predicting each other's mean wind speed with the WAsP method, while the MM5 calculations show a similar deviation for both sites. The largest differences between the two models are found at distances of 5–50km from the coast. While in WAsP the increase occurs in the first 10km from the coast, MM5 models an increase due to coastal effects for at least 50km. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley &Sons, Ltd.