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Controlling wind farms for higher energy production

DNV GL’s annual Energy Transition Outlook forecasts that wind power will grow rapidly to provide about 16% of world primary energy supply in 2050. When it comes to the electricity mix, wind power will have a 29% share by 2050. To meet international climate change targets, it will be essential to meet and exceed these forecasts. As wind takes centre stage in the energy transition, the topic of wind farm control is increasing in importance. The use of advanced wind farm control techniques can further improve the cost-effectiveness of wind power and accelerate the required expansion of wind energy use around the world.

Wind power is often thought of as an uncontrollable resource because wind turbines can only produce as much power as is available to them from the wind at any given time. However, this is a simplistic view and there is in fact much scope to optimise wind farms by means of appropriate control.

Wind farm control falls into two main categories, electrical control to benefit the grid and the active control of turbine wake effects to optimise wind farm operation. These categories are largely distinct, although there are some overlaps between them.

The turbines in a wind farm interact with each other through their wakes, reducing energy production and increasing fatigue loading. Wind farm control recognises that instead of allowing each turbine to optimise its own behaviour independently, the overall performance can be improved by asking each turbine to modify its own behaviour for the benefit of the whole wind farm.

The aim of wind farm wake control is to improve the economics of a wind power plant. This is conventionally measured in terms of the levelised cost of energy (LCoE), essentially the sum of all capital, operating and end-of-life costs (discounted to a fixed point in time) divided by the lifetime energy production.

Wind farm control has the potential to improve the LCoE in many ways, including higher energy capture, management of fatigue loading and better management of grid ancillary services provision. This will help wind farms to become even more cost-competitive against ‘conventional’ power stations.

Our recently published whitepaper summarises what is meant by wind farm control. Focusing on active wake management, it explains the principal motivating factors and the different possible approaches.

Download your free copy of DNV GL’s wind farm control whitepaper today to learn how to take advantage of advanced control strategies to increase production, reduce operating costs and extend plant lifetimes.


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