5. Offshore Wind

5.4.1.1. Design and Planning (Level 2)

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Essential Design Criteria

Wind Speeds

The wind farm developer will first have to identify several locations with the most adequate mean wind speeds. Although modern wind turbines have a kick-in speed of 4-5 m/s, it is recommended to install the wind turbines at a location where the mean wind speed is 7 m/s or higher in order for the wind turbines to operate and produce power for longer time periods throughout its lifecycle. This is essential in order to reduce the overall costs per kWh.

Technology Scale

Modern wind turbines range in size from small machines that produce a few hundred watts to very large turbines producing five megawatts of power or more. In order for offshore projects to be economically feasible, they generally need to use large turbines with capacities of several megawatts. The wind turbines can be installed as single devices or in arrays/farms of multiple devices in order to maximise the area of wind intercepted.  Projects may have capacities of a few megawatts, to several gigawatts, in larger offshore wind farms.

Wind Turbine Spacing

Wind turbine spacing must not deviate from the manufacturer’s specifications due to possible wake losses since the appropriate spacing strongly depends on the nature of the terrain and wind rose at a site. Wind turbine spacing may be varied in order to achieve the optimum performance of the wind farm; however, variations must always carry the approval of the wind turbine manufacturer.

llp logoThis project has been funded with support from the European Commission (EU Lifelong Learning Programme Agreement no LLP/LdV/TOI/2009/IRL – 515). This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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