Design optimization of offshore wind farms with multiple types of wind turbines

Ju Feng, Wen Zhong Shen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Most studies on offshore wind farm design assume a uniform wind farm, which consists of an identical type of wind turbines. In order to further reduce the cost of energy, we investigate the design of non-uniform offshore wind farms, i.e., wind farms with multiple types of wind turbines and hub-heights. Given a set of different types of wind turbines with a different default hub height for each type, we can specify the design of a wind farm by the types of turbines, number of turbines for each type, and turbine locations. We consider the optimization of such design to minimize the levelized cost of energy, which is calculated using a capital cost model that covers the turbine cost and the balance of plant cost. An empirical wind turbine design cost and scaling model is utilized to model the cost of turbines with different sizes. Constraints on wind farm boundary, wind turbine proximity and total capacity are also included. We solve the problem with a newly developed extended random search algorithm and tested it in a realistic design optimization problem based on the Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm in Denmark. The optimized non-uniform designs are compared with their uniform counterparts. We find that a non-uniform design can achieve a lower levelized cost of energy than its uniform counterparts, when the capital cost per MW is slightly lower for the smaller size turbine. Comparison with the mixed-discrete particle swarm optimization algorithm is also carried out for a non-uniform wind farm design problem with a fixed number of turbines, which shows the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed algorithm. Finally, the advantages and possible disadvantages of non-uniform design are also identified and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Energy
Pages (from-to)1283-1297
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Design optimization
  • Layout optimization
  • Levelized cost of energy
  • Non-uniform wind farm
  • Offshore wind farm
  • Random search algorithm


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