Research press release


Nature Energy

Crowding wind farms make for bad neighbours



今回J Lundquistたちは、別の風力発電所が風上に建設された際の、テキサス州西部の風力発電所の発電量の変化という特異な記録を使った。Lundquistたちは、風下の風力発電所の発電データをまとめることで、風下の風力発電所は、発電量の低下によって年間約200万ドルの損失を被っている可能性があると見積もっている。次に彼らは、コンピューターモデルを使って、今回の知見を証明した。さらに著者たちは、関連する米国の法律と条例を精査して、風力発電所の効率を悪くする立地を抑止する適切な法的枠組みが存在しないことを見いだした。今回の研究は、風力は最も環境に優しい電力源の1つと見なされることが多いが、風力発電所の立地をより賢く選べば、隣接する風力発電所どうしが意図せずに風力源を奪い合うことになる状況を避けられることを示している。

Wind farms can slow down the winds in their wake for tens of kilometres, potentially reducing the electricity production capacity of other wind farms downwind considerably, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Energy. Adequate laws may not exist to discourage such inefficient siting of the wind farms.

Turbines are known to reduce the speed of the air in their downwind wake. Due to the difficulties in measuring these changes in wind speeds, most studies into this effect turn to computer models to determine how much the wind speed is diminished at a given distance downwind from a turbine. It is similarly challenging to measure the exact effect of the wake on downwind electricity production - and it is even harder to quantity this between wind farms with multiple turbines.

Julie Lundquist and colleagues use a unique record of the change in electricity production of a wind farm in West Texas when another farm was built upwind. Bringing together data on the energy production at the downwind farm, they estimate that the downwind farm may have lost as much as US$2 million annually in lost electricity production. They then use computer models to verify their findings. Reviewing relevant US laws and regulations thoroughly, the authors find that no adequate legal framework exists to deter this inefficient siting of wind farms. This study shows that although wind is often seen as one of the most benign electricity sources, wiser selection of locations for wind farms would avoid circumstances where neighbours unintentionally end up extracting from each other’s resource.

doi: 10.1038/s41560-018-0281-2


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