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RENEWABLE ENERGY


outlined above, with limited data available on the effect of the offshore environment on the longevity of turbine technology, performance forecasts continue to be based on impressive out of the box power curves, giving owners false confidence that a project will meet projected AEP. Building a complete picture of offshore site conditions is crucial if owners want to truly understand the potential energy yield of their projects.


TURBULENT BALANCE SHEETS As there are no tall structures, mountains, or forestry to interrupt airflow, most offshore sites are considered to have a fairly consistent interaction with the wind resource. However, the very existence of


surrounding turbines can have a drastic effect on the flow of the wind downstream. As Ørsted found in 2019, if the effect of surrounding turbines on wind resource – otherwise known as the wake and blockage effect – is not taken into account in energy yield calculations, vast offshore wind farms can produce far less energy than initially forecast. By monitoring energy yield and identifying the reasons for any shortfall early on – whether due to faults within the turbines themselves or the influence of their surroundings on wind resource – owners can address any discrepancy in performance and better inform the power curve.


The top screenshot shows a power curve in the Clir software and the bottom one is a waterfall chart displaying distribution of energy


DIGITISE THE ENVIRONMENT Quantifying the impact of a site on performance – both in terms of the environmental conditions and the effect of surrounding turbines – is necessary to fully understand and solve sustained underperformance issues. To quickly find the actionable insights that will allow owners to optimise performance from the sheer quantity of data gathered from the turbine and site, they must embrace advanced digital tools. To gain an accurate understanding


Large rotors enable offshore turbines to produce far more enegry than onshore solutions


of how site conditions affect turbine performance, the first step is always to fully digitise the turbine’s environment. SCADA data alone is simply not enough. When Clir first onboards a wind farm to its platform, the company digitises all atmospheric and meteorological data relevant to the project site, as well as the geospatial data Tis contextual data is crucial to looking beyond wind


resource and “turbine availability” to accurately identify the root causes of underperformance and advise the owner of what will rectify it. Taking an in-depth, contextual data


driven approach to quantifying the unknowns of harsh offshore environments is key to optimising the performance of the new, large scale turbines and wind farms that will take a defining role in the future of Europe’s renewable energy industry. Developing a bank of contextual, environmental, and turbine data from operational wind farms will support project financing, optimise generation, and back the financial decision making crucial to offshore wind’s continued success.


Gareth Brown is CEO of Clir Renewables. www.clir.eco


www.engineerlive.com 33


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