Existing Offshore Wind Farms at commercial scale are currently not fully optimised with respect to the efficiency of their operation; either in terms of overall power production or in terms of operation and maintenance. Turbines are operated individually, each maximising its own power production. An improvement of the overall power production and load reduction is possible when the wind turbines are operated in a coordinated way. This fact was recognised at the beginning of this century and a new research area emerged aimed at the development of wind farm control (WFC) methods to operate the wind farms so as to maximise the overall power production of the whole farm and reduce the fatigue loading (thereby reducing the operation and maintenance costs) on the wind turbines. Significant research has been done to understand how these control strategies can be implemented and optimised and what the likely impact of these are. Currently, despite this body of research, there is very limited validation evidence to demonstrate that these theories work in practice. This gap will be bridged by the Demowind WFCT project.
The project aims to build on previous simulation-based studies, based on which it is expected that wind farm control strategies would result in an increase in energy yield of a few percent. It may also be possible to enable load reductions, meaning increased component life and 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 detailed analysis of the impacts of WFC on power production and loads for a few potential test sites. The actual trials are expected to start in 2019.
The project is coordinated by the Carbon Trust, and is funded by both the Demowind2 EU and the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programmes. The partners are ECN part of TNO, DTU, Frazer-Nash, Windar Photonics, innogy, Statoil, EnBW, E.ON, and Vattenfall.