A lot of aspects have to be considered when optimising a windfarm layout. For onshore wind farms, Wind Minds will look into the available physical space for the wind farm. Are there any restrictions caused by surrounding houses or installations and where are they located? What restrictions are given by local policies regarding landscaping? How can the impact on flora and fauna be kept within acceptable limits?
If all conditions are clear, the optimal wind turbine for the location can be determined based on the local wind climate in combination with the local subsidy regulations. Then the optimal layout for the chosen wind turbines is determined. When the optimal layout is determined, the internal park wake is minimized. This is done partly by taking the main wind direction into account when determining the site layout. The amount of downtime provision for the acoustics and shadow flicker effects are also minimized when the optimal layout for the wind turbines is determined.
For offshore wind farms there are less environmental aspects to be taken into account when optimising the layout of a wind farm. For offshore wind farms, the emphasis is more on producing as much electricity as possible at the lowest possible costs. This is usually referred to as the ‘Levelized Cost of Energy’ (LCoE).
In order to achieve an optimal layout for an offshore wind farm, firstly, the ideal capacity for the wind farm at the particular location is determined. This depends on the amount of sea surface available, the electrical infrastructure to be used and whether ‘overplanting’ can be of use. Overplanting is a term that is used when the capacity of the wind farm is bigger than the capacity of the export cable. When the optimal capacity of the wind farm is determined, we look at what techniques are suitable to achieve the capacity. The important aspects in this process are the amount and size of the turbines, the type of foundation and the optimal grid layout. Finally, the positions of the wind turbines are fine-tuned to achieve minimal wake effects.