Wind farm layout

Many factors determine the wind farm layout. Onshore wind farms are often constrained by available physical space (for example, by housing, infrastructure or nature protection) and spatial planning (combined with other developments such as future planned residential areas).

If all these preconditions are met, a suitable wind turbine will be selected based on the site conditions, chiefly wind speed and turbulence. The wind farm energy yield is determined by using representative data. Wind farm layouts are generally optimised by reducing wake effects as much as possible.

Offshore wind farms are generally constrained by fewer factors, but the location of wind farm sites can still be influenced by many large stakeholders (such as IMO shipping routes). A multitude of wind farm layouts is possible, and therefore they are optimised by energy production and costs (CAPEX & OPEX). Wind farm layouts are compared by calculating the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE), a measure of the unit-cost of energy over the lifetime of a generating asset.

Offshore wind farm layout designs can also be optimised for offshore electrical infrastructure, with design choices to be made on offshore substation capacity, array cables and export cables. The energy yield is determined using dedicated software tools (Windographer, WAsP and WindPRO) that consider the local wind climate and the wake effects. Multiple wake models can be considered, from the industry standard N.O. Jensen wake model to more advanced (CFD) models.

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Wouter Pustjens

Renewable Energy ConsultantMore about Wouter Pustjens