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WindDesk Discover Update: Ellipses!

We pushed a few minor updates to WindDesk Discover. Read our previous post about WD Discover here. The updates are as follows:

  • Previously Discover had a fixed pre-dominant wind direction of 260 degrees (where 0 is north) for any layout you drew. Now it uses ERA5 time-series data to figure out dynamically what is the predominant wind direction in the drawn boundary.
  • Previously you couldn't see the wind turbine spacing ellipses - now it is visualized on the map. The default values used are 6RD by 3RD.
  • You can override the default spacing parameters value in "Set advanced settings".
  • The rotor diameter depends on the class of turbine suggested by our backend algorithm (shown in the brief description) or by manual input in "Set advanced settings".

How Does Predominant Wind Direction and Spacing Ellipses Affect Wind Farms?

Turbines are spaced optimally from each other:

  • This helps reduce loading on turbine components due to increased turbulence from the wake of other turbine(s).
  • Good spacing strategy also helps minimize wake losses and increase energy production.
  • It is typical to use an ellipse to represent this spacing where the major axis is in the predominant wind direction. 6RDx3RD for a turbine with 150m rotor diameter means an ellipse of 900mx450m.

Adjusting the spacing parameters affects production, revenue and costs:

  • There could be a spot which has great wind speed and is rather flat and accessible (good constructability) - but another ellipse you just placed is blocking it.
  • You can see how its a recursive puzzle and you may want to to start over.
  • Further complicating matters are no-go zones for social / environmental reasons.
  • In the image above, if the predominant wind direction was 90 degrees, we would be able to fit very few turbines along the ridge (the red spots)!
  • If the spacing is too small, it will impose unfavorable loads on the turbines which may lead to strategies to shut down the turbines at certain conditions ("Wind Sector Management"). This may lead to a reduction in energy production.
  • Therefore, a good balance between all the above should be considered to optimize the wind farm and achieve high returns.

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