Wind Farm Control Trials

The Wind Farm Control Trials project aims to improve energy yield and reduce Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs

As part of our Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) we have launched a €2.3 million project, Wind Farm Control Trials (WFCT), with the aim of demonstrating new control strategies to improve energy yield and reduce operational and maintenance (O&M) costs. The WFCT trials involve the demonstration of new control strategies on an operational wind farm to understand their impact on improving the energy generation of a whole wind farm, rather than looking only at individual turbine. Based on existing experience it can be expected that pitch and yaw based control strategies would together result in a 0.5-3.5% increase in energy yield and hence an overall reduction LCOE. It is also expected that these strategies will also possibly enable load reductions of up to 50% for certain wind turbine components which will reduce fatigue and hence reduce turbine maintenance.

About the project

The OWA WFCT project will implement Wind Farm Control (WFC) strategies on an existing full-scale offshore wind farm and will aim to demonstrate better lifetime economic performance through increased power production, reduced O&M costs, and increased availability and lifetime extension of existing and future assets. Recent desktop studies undertaken by various stakeholder groups, such as FP7 ClusterDesign, FLOW program, NREL activities, OWA projects report promising results and these trials will validate these theoretical benefits on a real-life fully operational wind farm. The WFCT project is backed by EnBW, E.ON, Equinor, innogy, Shell, SSE 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 and Windar Photonics.

At the selected offshore wind farm, several measurement systems are to be installed, including strain gauges, eight nacelle-mounted LiDARs and one scanning LiDAR. The expected increase in energy yield and load reductions are based on simulation results, where set points (turbine input parameters) are altered and do not require any modifications to the turbine itself: this brings the enormous advantage of the control strategies being realisable on today’s wind farms. However, no solid experimental evidence has yet been publicly disclosed about the performance of WFC strategies in real-life and this project aims to validate these strategies and overall reduce the LCOE for the operational wind farm.

Despite the wealth of evidence showing the potential benefits of this technology, the technical and economic risks pose a significant challenge for bringing this technology to market. The OWA WFCT project aims to act as a catalyst to demonstrate WFC strategies in an operational setting to enable future adoption by the wider industry. Once proven, the concept can be rolled out to operational wind farms without any need for further technology development.

The trials are expected to be undertaken in 2018 and full results are expected in 2019.

Read the press release, December 2017: Holistic offshore wind farm control strategies to be put to the test

For more information contact

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691732.

This project is funded with subsidies from the Topsector Energy by the Ministry of Economics. (From: National Control EZ-subsidies).