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Case Study

SSE's Simulation of Wind Turbine Sites Increases Power Yield and Reduces Risk


“Our internal policy is that using CFD reduces flow modeling uncertainties by a third over using the industry standard linearized models. The consulting and support services provided by Ansys significantly reduced the time needed to deploy this powerful modeling capability in an HPC cluster environment.”

- Christopher Rodaway CFD Engineer & Wind Analyst / Resource Assessment, SSE


Introduction

Wind energy is a rapidly growing source of electricity. When developing wind farms, turbine siting assessment is critical to maximizing the energy yield and economics at a given location.

Challenges

Detailed understanding of how the prevailing wind conditions interact with the local terrain and potential wind turbine installations is an essential part of the process of developing onshore wind farms. Many currently-employed software programs are not well suited to complex onshore terrain where factors such as atmospheric stability, forestry and turbine interactions play a significant role. The accurate prediction of wind conditions including wind speed, wind shear, wind veer and turbulence intensity both under ambient and waked conditions is vital for intelligent project design.

Engineering Solution

Powerful electromagnetic simulation tools are essential to Polytenna. The most important features for us are:

  • Collaboration with the Ansys ACE consulting and support team.
  • Deploying Ansys CFX with WindModeller onto the in-house HPC cluster.
  • Using over 25 onshore development and operational wind projects across SSE’s portfolio to produce validation results. Industry standard tool, with widespread acceptance. The industry recognises HFSS as a reliable tool, and customers readily accept the simulation results.

Benefits

  • Software tools were well validated.
  • Ansys CFX with WindModeller is an essential part of SSE’s wind farm development toolset.
  • WindModeller is used for energy production assessments, site suitability analysis, turbine positioning and turbine model selection. A 1% improvement on yield can generate additional revenue of several million pounds on a typical 100MW project over a 20-year lifetime.
  • CFD can be used not only to calculate the wind resource, but also to assess site suitability for a particular turbine type (i.e., ensuring that the site turbulence conditions will not adversely affect the turbine lifetime).
  • Accurate modelling of complex wind climates and turbine placement optimization significantly reduce the risk posed to long-term asset integrity

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