Optimization Of Onshore Wind Farm Life Cycle Costs

Author(s) P. Etsebeth, E.P. Konig, R. Coney
CIGRE 7th Regional Conference , 7-11 October 2013 In Cape Town


The life cycle profitability and economics of an on-shore wind farm are very sensitive to the total energy loss up to the utility grid connection point. These losses are made up of the accumulated value of energy losses of all the elements in the connection chain, from the generator turbine terminals, right up to the facility metering point. When calculating these losses, it is important to consider the energy input from the wind at the location of the wind farm as well as the installation position and the turbine energy conversion curve.
Reduced capital expenditure, combined with reduction in life cycle cost of losses contributes to the economic viability and profitability of a wind farm. They can be incorporated in a techno-economic model to be used for the optimization of wind farm design for a specific site. This model can be used for optimising wind farm designs, selection of a specific wind farm site and choosing the most appropriate turbine combination for the specified site location.

This paper discusses and presents the process followed in optimizing a wind farm design to minimize the energy losses over the lifecycle of the wind farm. Example calculations are listed which included typical Weibull wind distribution curves, site measurements and generator output profiles. The losses for a chosen design are calculated and the design is optimized to reduce these losses.

The capital outlay of a wind farm is also considered by applying principles of rationalisation to equipment such as power cables, thereby reducing the number of different sizes / types required for the wind farm, resulting in reduced capital expenditure.

The above information was used to perform a sensitivity analysis in terms of losses, operating costs and capital requirements.