Wind turbine models overestimated output: to cost millions per year

Posted: April 10, 2020 by tallbloke in modelling, wind
Who could have guessed turbines might block the wind going to other turbines?

H/T Sasha Via Bloomberg:

The world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms issued a reality check to the industry, saying it has overestimated the amount of time its turbines are generating electricity.

Copenhagen-based Orsted A/S announced that offshore wind farms wouldn’t produce quite as much power as previously forecast. The adjustment could shave millions of dollars of revenue a year off each project. It’s also a warning to other developers who may have used similar analysis to estimate the economics of their projects.

Orsted is the leader in placing turbines at sea, with projects across Europe, Asia and the U.S. Even so, those wind farms with blades wider than the wing span of jumbo jets are relatively new, and they have relied methods to analyze wind strengths that haven’t yet racked up a long track record.

“Our findings point to a higher negative effect on production than earlier models had predicted,” Orsted’s Chief Financial Officer Marianne Wiinholt said on a call with reporters. “This is not a a major setback for the industry at all. The industry will still grow. We are more competitive than gas or coal.”

Shares in Orsted sank as much as 10% in Copenhagen after the news, which came a day ahead of the company’s planned release of its financial statement. The company, which is half-owned by the Danish state, kept its full-year outlook unchanged for 2019.

Turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S fell as much as 3.5%, as did SSE Plc, which recently won U.K. government contracts to support the construction of what will be the biggest offshore wind project in the world.

Despite the plunge on Tuesday, Orsted’s stock is up 31% this year, double the 15% gain for the OMX Copenhagen 25 Index and higher than the 22% gain for the S&P 500.

Other developers may soon find similar problems. Orsted regularly compared its estimates to those from external consultants that are used widely in the industry, Wiinholt said. Usually Orsted’s models were actually below those benchmarks, she said, meaning more optimistic competitors could face an even steeper re-adjustment.

“It is an industry-wide issue,” Wiinholt said.

The tests show that the company’s current production forecasts underestimate the negative impact from the so-called blockage effect, which arises when the wind slows down as it approaches turbines. It also underestimated the negative effect of the so-called wake effect, in which wind speeds drop between wind parks, it said.

Full story

Comments
  1. […] über Wind turbine models overestimated output: to cost millions per year — Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  2. Dave Ward says:

    “Who could have guessed turbines might block the wind going to other turbines?”

    Just about anyone with a functioning brain! You only need to walk or cycle from an exposed area to one shielded (from the wind) by woodland, or buildings. Why they needed to carry out “Tests” to determine that beggars belief…

  3. hunterson7 says:

    Typical of the analytical skills relied by the climate consensus. Nothing the climate consensus claims is well proven is well thought out or survives close scrutiny.

  4. Damian says:

    The picture is really cool, another consequence of turbines causing the air to hit dew point and forming mist.
    I was night fishing on a hill loch when a jet passed low overhead and we were suddenly shrouded in a thick fog. It had been perfectly clear before that.

  5. Jim says:

    Nice photo. It shows downwind weather modification by a turbine. Just as a jet, does,it mixed the air, a modification that is not natural. It changes all the weather, by blocking, and rotating. That changes all weather downstream. By adding in a new factor. Now, look at the records, is it different then prior to the turbine records. Did it really help, or did it do worse, is it warmer/colder,, are the storms more often or less, is the weather nicer, probably not but no one has done the obvious next step. They just installed another turbine because the government mandated x amount of power needed. A shame where there are better ways that impact the environment less.

  6. oldbrew says:

    This was written over 10 years ago…
    Wind turbines Wake Turbulence and Separation

    Wake turbulence behind a single wind turbine can extend beyond 16 blade diameters, being composed of both blade-tip vortices and the reduction of wind speed due to power extraction. It takes time for the airstream to become laminar, and further time for it to recover to the original free airstream velocity.

    https://www.arising.com.au/aviation/windturbines/wind-turbine.html

    Laminar flow
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminar_flow

  7. tallbloke says:

  8. JB says:

    “Who could have guessed turbines might block the wind going to other turbines?”

    Anyone with half a technical brain involved in wind studies. This was known back in the 70s when wind generators were being touted as viable energy sources. I learned about it in Popular Mechanics magazine.

  9. Dave Ward says:

    @oldbrew “Wind turbines Wake Turbulence and Separation”

    Nasty stuff, wake turbulence – as I found out many years ago, whilst flying too close to another aircraft. Believe me, actually experiencing it compared to looking at diagrams and pictures, is a whole new dimension!

  10. Gamecock says:

    How old is that photo? I know I saw it a long time ago.

  11. Damian says:

    It looks like the turbines are stacked in rows and I think they stopped doing that a few years back and started staggering them when they “figured out” that the one in front would affect all those behind.
    I don’t think a lot of thought went into wind farms generally, companies just wanted to jump on the gravy train as quickly as possible.
    Even the design of the turbines themselves seem outdated and over complicated.
    A vertical design would be simpler and more efficient, probably safer too.

  12. Depending upon the wind direction, all turbines are in line!!

  13. Gamecock says:

    Thx.

  14. ivan says:

    The industry will still grow. We are more competitive than gas or coal.
    That only applies in a skewed, subsidised market with very expensive, unreliable wind being forced on punters. If a real open market was allowed (only requirements being cost, reliability and availability long term) then wind power would never get a look in.
    After all wind power was dumped when steam power became available back in the industrial revolution.

  15. Phoenix44 says:

    So if you take energy from something, it has less energy?

    Well I never did.

  16. What a big surprise! TURBines cause TURBulence.

  17. Curious George says:

    “The company … kept its full-year outlook unchanged for 2019.”
    How old is this news?

  18. Curious George says:

    “£96,661,320 has been paid this year.” I hope the money is sent to the Tower.

  19. oldbrew says:

    “We are more competitive than gas or coal.”

    In your dreams, that is. Why the subsidies?

  20. Damian says:

    I sell energy. I had a customer who wanted a Scottish energy supplier…and there are none.
    Scottish Power are Spanish. Scottish gas are really British Gas, who are a subsidiary of Bayerngas who are German. SSE are owned by a Swiss conglomerate.
    We are supposed to be World leaders in renewable energy which, in reality would fall apart without the subsidies they get from the British tax payer.
    We’re just getting rinsed.
    Our country is covered in wind farms. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the British isle and now it’s marred with these white elephants and we as getting nothing out of it.

  21. Graeme No.3 says:

    Gamecock:
    The photo is of the Horns Rev 1 wind farm in the North sea. One of the first offshore ‘farms’.
    It was arranged in 7 rows of 8 turbines. It was calculated that if the third and fifth? (possibly sixth row, faulty memory) were removed then the output would increase.
    I remember using a copy of that photo in a talk I gave about 2011 or 2012.

  22. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    How is this not outright fraud? Oh yeah, because they’re trying to save the planet by fleecing the lot of us – based on dodgy models. The problem of the Age.

    Copenhagen-based Orsted A/S announced that offshore wind farms wouldn’t produce quite as much power as previously forecast. The adjustment could shave millions of dollars of revenue a year off each project. It’s also a warning to other developers who may have used similar analysis to estimate the economics of their projects.

    Orsted is the leader in placing turbines at sea, with projects across Europe, Asia and the U.S….

    “Our findings point to a higher negative effect on production than earlier models had predicted,” Orsted’s Chief Financial Officer Marianne Wiinholt

  23. edhoskins says:

    Who asked the citizens of the UK if they wanted to spend this much money supporting Weather Dependent Renewable Energy. When one eliminates the Subsidies and other support about GBP 250 billion long-term rather than about GBP 21billion for Gas-firing.

    The sums are here:

    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/excess-costs-of-uk-weather-dependent-renewable-energy-2019/

    Accordingly the post quantifies the scale of the fiscal waste and the burdens on utility bills attributable to the use of UK Weather Dependent Renewables in 2019.

  24. Saighdear says:

    @ Oldbrew, Turbulence is Trouble ….. got me thinking again! 1. what about underwater turbines ( in the sea channels) causing havoc to marine life? 2. Wind Photo: When the Sht hits the fan : I KNOW it gets chopped and SPREAD OUT -because the Fan (Blades) are being powered. If the Blades are not rotating, Sht happens 🙂 Just a mess around the blades and it all lands on the ground. Now compare with a vehicle spinning wheels on a dirt track and Braking hard on a dirt track, what happens and why? …. 🙂 See? So what is wrong with that 9yr old foto? No I am NOT related to Swede Greta!

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