You've probably seen them, maybe on some trip: wind turbines with huge rotating blades. an almost hypnotic landscape. Those giants that work day and night taking advantage of the clean energy of the wind to convert it into electrical energy.
What you may not know is that due to the exponential growth in the number of wind turbines in use, these wind farms are possibly reducing their energy production capacity.
Turbines have been designed with their own use in mind, as historically wind turbines were used individually or in small groups, but as the world moves towards greener energy technologies, they are now installed in gigantic parks that group hundreds or thousands of wind turbines.
The problem with these large installations is that each machine has been designed to extract as much energy as possible from the wind by itself, but being surrounded by hundreds of others, the equation for optimal performance is modified. Depending on how the turbines are positioned relative to each other and with the prevailing wind, those that are not directly in the wind's path could greatly degrade their performance.
"These turbines are now very good at extracting energy from the wind, but they also form these very large wind shadows," said Luzzatto-Fegiz, who is the lead author of "Drag Models for Fully Developed Wind Farms: Effects of Atmospheric Stability and an ideal limit for the performance of a wind farm ", article published in the journal American Physical Society, Physical Review Fluids. Similar to how structures can attenuate the flow of light from one side to the other, wind power also decreases as it flows from the front of the turbine to its rear. The result is that not all turbines in a wind farm live up to their potential.
So, we see that there are other things to take into account than only the number of turbines that we install in a wind farm, because if we do not take into account that at some point we will achieve these diminishing returns, we will surely reach the point where if we continue adding turbines , the amount of total energy generated will begin to decrease.
There are, of course, solutions to mitigate this problem and maintain energy efficiency. Wind energy is safe and renewable, it is a solution in itself to fight against global warming since it competes hand in hand against the use of more polluting and non-renewable energy sources.
The contracting and construction of new projects requires a thorough and professional approach to design management, construction monitoring and quality assurance, thus optimizing performance and useful life. For every kW of wind energy generated, there is one less generation from a more polluting energy source.
A technical consultation should always be carried out to foresee and evaluate in detail the multiple possibilities that exist in each particular case. To address solutions for the optimization of wind farm performance from the beginning of the project, from the design phase to the extension of the useful life of each wind turbine.