On the optimization of offshore wind farm layouts
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Pillai, Ajit Chitharanjan
Layout optimization of offshore wind farms seeks to automate the design of the wind farm and the placement of wind turbines such that the proposed wind farm maximizes its potential. The optimization of an offshore wind farm layout therefore seeks to minimize the costs of the wind farm while maximizing the energy extraction while considering the effects of wakes on the resource; the electrical infrastructure required to collect the energy generated; the cost variation across the site; and all technical and consenting constraints that the wind farm developer must adhere to. As wakes, electrical losses, and costs are non-linear, this produces a complex optimization problem. This thesis describes the design, development, validation, and initial application of a new framework for the optimization of offshore wind farm layouts using either a genetic algorithm or a particle swarm optimizer. The developed methodology and analysis tool have been developed such that individual components can either be used to analyze a particular wind farm layout or used in conjunction with the optimization algorithms to design and optimize wind farm layouts. To accomplish this, separate modules have been developed and validated for the design and optimization of the necessary electrical infrastructure, the assessment of the energy production considering energy losses, and the estimation of the project costs. By including site-dependent parameters and project specific constraints, the framework is capable of exploring the influence the wind farm layout has on the levelized cost of energy of the project. Deploying the integrated framework using two common engineering metaheuristic algorithms to hypothetical, existing, and future wind farms highlights the advantages of this holistic layout optimization framework over the industry standard approaches commonly deployed in offshore wind farm design leading to a reduction in LCOE. Application of the tool to a UK Round 3 site recently under development has also highlighted how the use of this tool can aid in the development of future regulations by considering various constraints on the placement of wind turbines within the site and exploring how these impact the levelized cost of energy.