INDUSTRY LEADING LOAD FACTORS
16.3 GW OF PIPELINE UNDER DEVELOPMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CRITERIA IN PROJECT SELECTION
The development stage of the project is by far the most critical. The choice of location, wind farm layout or wind turbine generator will influence the top-line return of the project for the next 25 years of operations. Once the wind farm is up and running, certain adjustments can be made to maximize output and reduce costs, however the fundamental drivers of return were decided years before, during development.
Finding the prime locations to build our wind farms and defining the optimal placing of the turbines is critical for a project’s success. Placing the turbine in a sub-optimal location could significantly reduce a wind turbine’s load factor. For this reason, EDPR has implemented a thorough process that ensures the quality of the new additions to the global portfolio and tries to anticipate during the early stages of the development if a project will meet the highest standards defined by the company.
However, not only technical factors are taken into consideration during this initial process. Social and environmental aspects of potential sites are evaluated before initiating the permitting process, following our environmental and biodiversity policy commitments, in order to ensure that our development portfolio only considers projects that can meet our highest environmental standards.
WIND FARM LAYOUT DESIGN
EDPR uses a two stage process to determine the optimal layout for a wind farm to maximize the profitability of the project. This process is carried out by one of the most experienced teams in the industry, including experts with more than 10 years of experience.
One of the first steps of developing a project is to use complex mathematical models to produce a series of layout options. Information on wind speeds, wind direction, foundation costs and zone restrictions are among the many variables considered in the model. Once these options are developed it’s also important to consider the potential losses in energy output due to the “wake effect”.
This effect relates to the loss of energy and increased turbulence caused by rotating blades on downstream wind turbines. It is important to anticipate the potential impact and adjust the layout accordingly because once a wind farm is built no further changes can be made without a sizeable impact. The ultimate goal is to design a layout that will capture the maximum amount of the wind resource, minimize construction costs and avoid unsustainable areas.
Since a wind farm can become a part of the local community, their input is also critical to achieve our goals. Early engagement provides a valuable understanding of the social considerations of the sites and also ensures a good and smooth development. During this process, potential conditions that might be attached to the consent of the wind farm are discussed. These conditions can influence the layout, construction techniques, scheduling, post-consent monitoring, and studies. Public consultations are a standard practice to understand social considerations and are well attended by the locals and often receive coverage in the local media.
WIND TURBINE GENERATOR CHOICE
As well as optimizing the layout of the wind farm, great effort is taken into choosing the best fit wind turbine generator for each site. When developing a new project our technical and procurement teams work closely to choose the model that will provide the best all-round profitability for the project. This is a delicate balance between the technical specifications of each model and the price offered by the manufacturer. The model selected is based on maximizing return, which based on the economics, could come at the expense of maximizing production.
EDPR manages more than 70 wind turbine models from 9 different suppliers in its global portfolio. The experience gained in working with a diversified portfolio of models helps ensure low turbine supply risk, high productivity and competitive pricing among turbine manufacturers.