Page 60 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2017 publication
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60  Spring 2017 European Energy Innovation


have been important to disseminate         • When used during the design phase          they too heavily loaded? To improve
results of various national projects and       of the wind farm, AWC reduces            accessibility, ECN and partners develop
creating synergies across the national         electrical infrastructure costs by       and model access systems to allow for
borders.                                       reducing the spacing between the         easy and safe transport of personnel to
                                               wind turbines.                           a wind farm.
EFFICIENT                                  Wind farm controllers are very relevant      OFFSHORE WIND CONDITIONS
Together with its partners, ECN has        for all offshore wind farms. Considering     Wind measurements at the North
been developing innovations to make        that increasing annual energy                Sea have been performed by ECN in
offshore wind more reliable and more       production is the single easiest way         the Dutch part of the North Sea since
efficient. Breakthroughs have been         to lower the cost of energy, ECN will        2000. First using a measurement mast
achieved at several levels, from blade     continue to work in bringing this to the     near IJmuiden, later a 100 metre-high
and rotor innovations, through to          market on a large scale. At this moment      met mast was installed more than 80
wind farm control, optimising wind         in time, ECN is participating in the EU      kilometres from the coast. For several
farms and more efficient operation         Demowind program on this topic.              years ECN has been operating remote
and maintenance processes. Some                                                         sensing LiDAR systems at several
examples are provided below:               LARGER CAPACITY FACTORS                      locations in the North Sea aiming to
                                           Capacity factor refers to the                characterise the atmospheric boundary
WIND FARM CONTROL                          percentage of time when the wind farm        layer up to 300m height. These data
A characteristic of offshore wind farms    operates at its maximum efficiency.          are very important for the development
is the large number of turbines in         To do this, the wind turbines should         of the soon to be built wind farms at
the wind farm. These turbines have a       harvest energy efficiently even at low       Borssele and Hollandse Kust. Ultimately
negative impact on each other because      wind speeds and also have a very             a good understanding of wind
of the wakes behind the turbines.          low down time. ECN contributes               conditions and variability is the most
This leads to performance losses and       by developing larger rotors as               critical part of the business case for an
additional maintenance costs. ECN has      well as working on the design and            offshore wind farm.
developed patented technology called       maintenance of support structures.
Active Wake Control (AWC). This wind                                                    NOT JUST ONE SOLUTION
farm controller has been demonstrated      For larger rotors, ECN’s tool to calculate   The development and implementation
to increases the energy production.        the performance of airfoils (the wing        of offshore wind power is a multi-
The reasons wind farm operators            profiles of the blades) called RFOIL         disciplinary effort. This article
and developers are looking into the        needs to be improved with advanced           highlighted several R&D developments
possibilities of AWC technology are:       physics. In that way, the tool which has     that already have contributed or will
                                           been applied to design the majority          contribute to cost-effective offshore
• AWC increases the wind farm annual       of all wind turbines is capable to           wind power. The fact that the Dutch
    power production (typically 0.5-2.5%   accurately design future large rotors.       government, as well as the European
    depending on farm configuration)                                                    Union is assisting with cohesive R&D
                                           The operation and maintenance of             programmes helps a great deal.
• AWC reduces fatigue loads on wind        offshore wind farms significantly differs    Turbines will need to become even
    turbines (about 1-3%), increasing the  from that of onshore wind farms. The         more effective, produce more energy
    lifetime by 4-20% while at the same    accessibility of the turbines is especially  for a lower price, and become even
    time reducing failure rates (O&M       hampered when the wind is strong and         more reliable. This is a balancing act
    costs saving)                          waves are high. This means turbines          which requires innovative technology,
                                           must be robust and redundancy is             brought quickly to the market. l
• Implementing AWC on a 350MW              an important asset. ECN has been
    offshore wind farm could potentially   working on the O&M optimiser that              For more information on the R&D
    result in around 20 GWh of             collects the data within an offshore           programme and innovations of
    additional power production and        wind farm. Using smart algorithms,             ECN in the field of wind energy,
    an increase in yearly cash flows       an operator can learn a lot from the           please visit our website
    of around 2 million euros for the      data and make intelligent decisions. 
    operator (fast return on investment)   Which components have failed? Were

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