Artist Impression of Wind Farm Cluster (3E)
Artist's impression of the ClusterDesign concept (3E)
 
In line with the targets of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) of the European Commission, the offshore wind energy industry in Europe is to benefit from a M€5.2 initiative co-funded by the European Union.

Until 2016 a consortium of six institutes in four countries is developing a ToolBox for the integrated design and control of clusters of offshore wind farms that shall later be applied by offshore wind turbine manufacturers and offshore wind energy project developers.

The solutions in the ToolBox should raise the energy yield and reduce the production costs of offshore wind energy, should allow the operation of future clusters of offshore wind farms as virtual power plants, and should decrease the long-term prediction error for energy yield to less than 3%.

The ToolBox combines different offshore wind farm design tools and integrates the intelligent control of offshore wind farm clusters at the planning stage. The design tools assist wind farm developers and manufacturers in designing cost effective wind farm and cluster topologies, electrical connection configurations and topologies, as well as wind turbine and wind farm control strategies.

To achieve this goal the project concept consists of four main elements:

Modelling – Further development of existing models that each aim at optimizing major wind farm functionalities related to design and control in offshore applications namely
power production, mechanical loads, and power system support (ancillary services). The set of models consist of advanced wake models, wind farm electrical connection models, virtual power plant operation models, load and performance models, and wind farm control concepts and models.

Integration – Combination of the aforementioned models in a ToolBox for integrated wind farm cluster design.

Validation – Proof and improvement of the models and toolbox results against data measured on-site in an operating large
offshore wind farm in the North Sea. Control concepts are applied as well in the same wind farm.

Valorisation – Transforming the results into an industrial applicable solution, thus, ensuring significant impact of the developed solutions.

The ToolBox facilitates finding solutions that meet multiple criteria, primarily reduced costs through reduced loads, but also maximum energy extraction, reduced uncertainty of energy yield predictions, and maximum power system support capability.