Examining the Design and Impact of a Large-Scale Offshore Wind Farm off the Coast of Louisiana

Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Competition

Objective: Perform a comprehensive analysis of a potential large-scale wind farm project located off the coast of Louisiana. This analysis included a detailed study of wind resources, financial feasibility, environmental impact, and site layout while  assessing the viability of the wind farm, taking into consideration various factors such as wind speeds and directions, environmental ordinances, and financial returns.

 

Collaborators: Team 3, comprising Mufaddal Gheewala and others, under the guidance of Dr. Susan Stewart, conducted this research as part of EGEE 438.

 

 

 

As a part of my senior design project, I worked on examining the wind turbine design as well as the environmental impact for a large offshore wind farm. I utilized data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) for 2012 and 2013 to analyze wind speed, direction, and production potential. Tools like Windographer and Furrow were used to generate Wind Rose, Monthly Production, Mean Diurnal curves, Weibull Parameters, and power curves for the site. This assessment aimed at planning a wind project that could accurately predict future energy production and financial viability, as well as assessing the positive and negative environmental impact for the wind farm. 

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                                                                        Figure 1. Monthly Mean Wind Speed Curves for 2012 and 2013.

 

Key Focus:

 

    • Economic analysis using the SAM Software to project the wind farm’s financial performance, including revenue potential, capacity factor, and return on investment, against a backdrop of a 135MW farm output and various cost factors.

    • Wind farm’s spatial arrangement within a 40 km2 lease block, considering environmental regulations, shipping lanes, and potential impacts on local wildlife and ecosystems. The analysis also covered the logistics of connecting the wind farm to the grid.

    • Design and optimization of wind turbine blades to maximize energy output based on the assessed wind resource. The analysis involved selecting airfoils and blade sections to achieve optimal lift-to-drag ratios at varying wind speeds, with a detailed power curve analysis to predict energy production.

This comprehensive study aimed at not just assessing the feasibility of the wind farm but also at pushing the boundaries of renewable energy technology and project implementation. The findings underscore the potential for offshore wind farms to significantly contribute to sustainable energy generation, particularly in regions with favorable wind conditions like the Gulf of Mexico.

 

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                                  Figure 2. Site Layout and Environmental Analysis (top) and our wind turbine in the Wind Tunnel Testing.

 

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