Offshore wind farms can “steal” the capacity of other farms in their wake at distances of up to 50km away, a study has found.
According to a researcher from the University of Bergen in Norway, efficiency can be reduced by up to 20 per cent from this distance due to wake loss.
PhD candidate Eirik Finserås said that current regulations are “ambiguous” and should be developed to accommodate the proliferation of offshore wind development in the North Sea in order to maximise efficiency.
“The incentive to develop an offshore wind farm can diminish with just a five per cent reduction in capacity, based on economic considerations,” he said.
The Norwegian government is currently planning the development of offshore wind farms in Sørlige Nordsjø II. The field is located approximately 22km southeast of the planned Danish offshore wind park Nordsren III.
“The Norwegian offshore wind farm in Sørlige Nordsjø II will likely ‘steal’ wind from the proximate Danish planned offshore wind farms. Whether this will have any legal consequences for the Norwegian plans is difficult to say,” Finserås noted.
Under Norway’s current regulations, there are no rules to prevent different offshore projects from being built near each other.
Beyond being a good neighbour by consulting other stakeholders, there is no obligation to enter into agreements with them or to take other steps to limit energy loss from wake effects.
“As far as I know, Norwegian authorities have not consulted the Danes with regards to the likely transboundary wake effects resulting from offshore wind development in Sørlige Nordsjø II,” Finserås added.
“In any case, regulatory frameworks need to be developed and made clearer regarding the regulation of offshore wind farms and the challenges related to wake effects so that the green energy transition is carried out as smoothly and effectively as possible.”
According to RenewableUK, the UK’s offshore wind pipeline was close to 100GW in generation in February – a 14GW year-on-year increase. Much of the infrastructure is also located in the North Sea and could be impacted by wind farms built by other states.
Last December, the UK signed an agreement with the EU and other countries bordering the North Sea to develop energy interconnectors.
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