United States

United States

Study uncovers potential 33% offshore improvement

UNITED STATES: Staggering offshore wind turbines instead of arranging them in lines could improve performance by as much as 33%, a study by the University of Delaware has found.

The grid-like Lillgrund was used as a basis for the study
The grid-like Lillgrund was used as a basis for the study

The report by the Atmosphere and Energy Research Group at the university compared the performance of the 110MW Lillgrund wind farm in Swedish waters, which is arranged in a grid-like layout, to six alternative configurations

The project came online in 2007.

Six alternatives were tested under the computer model in simulations that took several weeks each to run.

The scenario where every other row of turbines was staggered offered the most effective performance according to the study.

This layout, arranged to face the prevailing wind, along with an increased distance between the rows of turbines showed the turbines performance improving by a third.

The benefit is accounted for by the lessening of the negative impact that eddies, which wind turbines create downwind as their blades spin, on the surrounding turbines.

Cristina Archer, who led the study said that considering these various factors could better inform where and how to configure future offshore wind farms.

"We have explored all these trade-offs systematically, one by one," she said.

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