The wind does not always blow consistently. So how can a wind farm provide electricity when there is little wind? CrossWind and its partners are exploring five different innovations designed to address these challenges. Through these innovations an offshore wind farm could be capable of providing more constant electricity regardless of the wind conditions.
Intelligent wind turbines
CrossWind’s Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) supplier Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) will play a leading part in adding flexibility on a scale of seconds. Using real-time data, intelligent wind turbines can respond to changing conditions within seconds and help to keep stability across the electricity grid.
Addressing the wake effect
When a wind turbine extracts energy from the wind, it leaves behind a wake of lower wind speeds that decreases the power output of any downwind turbines. This is also called the ‘wake effect’. To some extent, we already minimize wake losses by smart layout design. Another solution is to control the wind turbines in a smart way by giving them a yaw offset for certain wind directions. This slightly reduces the power output of single turbine, but a yawed rotor will also push the wake away from any downwind turbines, leading to a higher total power output. Together with TU Delft and its partners, CrossWind is looking at ways of using real-time data to reduce the wake effect across the entire wind farm.
Floating solar energy
What about times when there is simply not enough wind to turn a turbine? CrossWind and TNO will design, install and operate the world’s first offshore floating solar plant at 0.5MW that will be placed alongside the wind turbines. It will help generate additional power when the sun shines, alongside the power production from the wind turbines. Besides increasing the power output per km2, the combination with floating solar panels also increases the utilization of the grid connection.
How can you store excess energy in times of low demand to supply it in times when demand is high? CrossWind and its partners will design and develop facilities within the wind farm that involves battery storage and hydrogen production at MW scale that will produce hydrogen in periods of high power production and converts the hydrogen to electricity when needed. This will provide flexibility on the hours-to-days scale with batteries providing storage for up to several hours and longer-term energy storage using hydrogen for up to around 36 hours.
Research & integration
CrossWind is looking at opportunities to efficiently integrate these innovations within the wind farm. We have commissioned further research to explore opportunities for a more optimized, balanced, stable and efficient grid use.
Our aim is to help the world build intelligent wind farms that can match supply with demand of renewable electricity and to further power the transition into a lower-carbon future.