Monday, May 20, 2024

Scientists release findings on how to add efficiency to expanding offshore wind projects

New Cornell University research shows how to make offshore wind farms more efficient in the face of impending rapid expansion – crucial information as the U.S. Department of the Interior affirmed White House plans to lease federal waters for several giant arrays of wind turbines along the East Coast. “Massive upscaling of wind turbine deployments offshore is critical to achieving global and national goals to decarbonize the electricity supply,” said Sara Pryor, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell. “The excellent wind resource and proximity to large markets along the East Coast means it is the focus of America’s first-phase, offshore wind projects, where thousands of physically larger and higher-capacity wind turbines will be deployed over large areas (covering about 700,000 hectares of water, combined) at an unprecedented scale.” There are challenges on how to optimally locate offshore turbines to efficiently achieve electricity-generation goals, said Pryor. Low-turbulence conditions over water, plus the locations and size of the lease areas auctioned by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, mean that individual wind farms will experience each other’s wake (disturbed air flow). Thus, the wind turbines may fatigue earlier and a group of turbines may experience up to 30% lower power production due to wake effects, according to the new paper.

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