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Innovation Challenges

Linking wind farm control to market conditions in real time to maximise value

Issue

Background to Red Rock Power Limited (RRPL) 

RRPL is a growing, European renewable energy company based in Scotland with three wind developments currently in development or operation – the proposed Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm in the Firth of Forth; Afton, an operational onshore wind farm in East Ayrshire; and a 25% share of Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm which was completed in summer 2019. The company has strong ambitions to expand into other European sustainable energy sectors in the year ahead as well as continue to grow its UK offshore wind portfolio by participating in the upcoming leasing rounds.

During the operational phase of wind farms, outside of regular payments from subsidy schemes or long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs), a portion of the generated electricity will be sold to the market and therefore be exposed to price volatility risk.

Increasingly, for the UK offshore wind sector “merchant pricing” may in the years to come replace the conventional forms of subsidy as the main form of revenue. Whilst developers (and their lenders and financial backers on a particular project) will seek to protect against downside risk, there is also an upside opportunity to generate greater value from operating the wind farm more aggressively during time of peak power demand and reduce the capacity factor at times of lower price.

RRPL is seeking a solution that will exploit this upside opportunity but balance it against a reduction in the long-term life of the asset. For example, in a short period of higher wholesale electricity price and high wind speed, the developer could “sweat” its asset above the nominal design load conditions. Ideally, this would be done in full knowledge of the cost of the fatigue loading increase and the corresponding lost asset life, by operating above the design conditions. Conversely, at times of low electricity price where the value of producing at or above rated wind farm output are minimal, the WTGs with a more critical lifetime (i.e. which have been more adversely affected by the period of being “sweated”) will be considerably ramped down in power output. Thus compensating for the short period at which the WTG was being stressed beyond its design envelope, but offering an overall net benefit on NPV (Net Present Value).

The desired level of control over the WTGs in a wind farm would be WTG-specific and tailored to the real-time fatigue life of that WTG unit and RRPL would ideally like a system which performs such cost benefit analyses in real time and derives a control algorithm to implement in the wind farm SCADA control system.

It is accepted that this type of technique would most likely occur in the years after the original defects warranty period from the turbine OEM has expired but also could be implemented earlier with collaboration with the WTG OEMs.

For offshore wind farms, the solution would focus more around wake induced turbulence, whereas for onshore there may be more focus on wind shear, inflow angle etc.

We anticipate innovations from some of the following areas:

  • Data analytics
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Good understanding of FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis)/ FMECA (Failure Mode, Effects & Criticality Analysis) and the typical determining failure mechanisms behind offshore WTGs and the OpEx (operating expenditure) implications of failures (although RRPL can help with this, as well as the expected contractual implications with turbines supply and service agreements)
  • Understanding of aeroelastic models for WTGs, structural health monitoring for WTG support structures (jackets, monopiles, TPs, foundations etc.) and measurement and modelling of real time loads in WTGs using WTG anemometry and/ or LiDAR.
  • Ability to form a site specific profile for each WTG in the wind farm based on design life, actual projected life due to measured wind conditions and loads with real time adjustment
  • Understanding of how such a system would integrate into the wind farm SCADA control
  • Experience in relevant offshore engineering standards and approach to lifetime calculation
  • A good understanding of techniques and technical features from WTG OEMs such as power boost, wake loss optimisation, high wind ride through etc., load optimisation through pitch control, yaw control, passive and active damping and Condition Monitoring Systems (CMS) etc

Challenge

Functional Requirements 

The solution will be deployable on a typical onshore or offshore wind farm and easily implemented on the WTG controller and in the wind farm SCADA.

Technical Characteristics

  • The proposed solution will make reference to the calculation of loads under the IEC 61400-1 and IEC 61400-3 standards.
  • The solution will be readily deployable to current deployed turbine technology as well as future state of the art turbine sizes
  • The solution must be standalone and derive its outcomes with or without any involvement from the WTG OEMs and the WTG control and SCADA system 

Operating Conditions

Any hardware for the solution must be capable of working in offshore conditions with full weatherproofing, where off-the-shelf consumer electronics do not tend to withstand the harsh offshore conditions.

Timescales

  • Launch of the Competition: 22nd October 2019
  • Deadline for applications: 3rd December 2019
  • Selection and notification of finalists: w/c 9th December 2019
  • Launch Academy begins January 2020

Solutions should be:

Fully deployable for prototype testing within 6 months of competition win. Full commercial deployment with 1.5 years (there are operational sites that a solution could start work on immediately if the system is already commercially available).

 


For offshore wind farms, the solution would focus more around wake induced turbulence, whereas for onshore there may be more focus on wind shear, inflow angle etc.

Opportunities

Market Opportunity 

Any solution which achieves this could be become industry best practice (especially for a post CfD (Contracts for Difference) UK offshore wind world) and therefore could be adopted across the industry by wind farm operators. This offers a significant market opportunity for the winning company.

Eligibility 

Entrants to this competition must be:

 Assessment

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the UK and European Market

IP 

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • ORE Catapult do not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial venture through the Launch Academy programme.

Apply Now!

If you think your technology is up to the challenge, apply now to join the Launch Academy.

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