Holistic offshore wind farm control strategies to be put to the test

Friday, 8 December, 2017 - 10:00
Different methods of control will be used to optimise power production for the whole wind farm (photo: Vattenfall / CC BY-ND)
Different methods of control will be used to optimise power production for the whole wind farm (Photo: Vattenfall / CC BY-ND)

The Carbon Trust has launched a new multimillion euro project as part of its Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme to investigate best use of Wind Farm Controls to maximise energy production from offshore wind farms whilst reducing turbine loads.

The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator announced a new €2.3 million project, Wind Farm Control Trials www.carbontrust.com/offshore-wind/owa/demonstration/wfct/ (WFCT) designed to demonstrate how effective implementation of control strategies can reduce the cost of offshore wind. Optimising control strategies to reduce wake effects will lower the levelised cost of energy (LCoE) by increasing the total wind energy yield and reducing fatigue, thus saving operational and maintenance costs. Additionally the introduction of control strategies can also increase availability and extend the lifetime of existing and future assets. During the project, different methods of control will be used to optimise power production for the whole wind farm rather than maximising production of individual turbines. The turbine control will be altered by adjusting the blade angle of attack and rotation of the nacelle.

Largest real-life demonstration

The WFCT study will be the largest and most comprehensive real-life demonstration of the impact of Wind Farm Control strategies on the overall performance of a wind farm. The project aims to build on previous simulation-based studies such as FP7 ClusterDesign, FLOW program, NREL activities and earlier studies by the OWA. Based on these previous studies and simulations undertaken, it is expected that adopting blade pitch or yaw-based WFC strategies would result in increase in energy yield of between 0.5 and 3.5 %. It is also expected to possibly enable load reductions of up to 50 % for some wind turbine components, meaning increased component life therefore reduced operation and maintenance costs.

The project will seek to verify and validate these theories by implementing WFC strategies at an operational wind farm. The first stage of the project involves analysis to determine the most suitable wind farm test site for the trials and an optimisation of the control strategies. The selected wind farm will have extensive measurement equipment installed as part of the validation process for the simulations; including eight nacelle mounted Windar Photonics LiDARs, a scanning LiDAR and load measurements installed on individual turbines.

The WFCT project is backed by EnBW, E.ON, innogy, Statoil and Vattenfall incorporating know-how from experts who have played a leading role in wind farm control concept generation and wind measurement, including DTU, ECN, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and Windar Photonics.

James Sinfield, Project Manager of the Wind Farm Control Trial at the Carbon Trust commented: “The project has the potential to have a significant impact on cost reduction with a win-win on improving annual energy production and at the same time reducing operational and maintenance costs.”

Stoyan Kanev, Senior Project Manager at ECN commented: “This project will be the first one to demonstrate the economic benefits from wake control in real-life experiments at a full-scale offshore wind farm. It will increase the maturity and acceptance of the technology, paving the way towards a large scale implementation.”
The trials are expected to be undertaken in 2018 and full results are expected in 2019.

Volker Buddensiek / Carbon Trust

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