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 wind data. Wind farm layouts are generally optimised by reducing wake effects as much as possible, mainly by orientation perpendicular to the main wind direction(s). The reduction of noise and shadow curtailment also plays a significant role for wind energy close to housing.
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, therefore optimisation is not only done on energy yield but also on 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 be optimised for offshore electrical infrastructure, with design choices to be made on offshore substation capacity, spacing, wind farm cabling and safety distances from existing offshore infrastructure. Pondera uses dedicated software tools (windPRO, PyWake and GRASP) to model energy yield and consequently wake effects in various levels of detail. Ensembles of wake models are preferred, ranging from the industry standard N.O. Jensen wake model to more advanced (CFD) models.