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Offshore resource assessment relies on estimating wind speeds at turbine hub height using observations typically made at substantially lower height. The methods used to adjust from observed wind speeds to hub height can impact resource estimation. The importance of directional sea state is examined, both as seasonal averages and as a function of the diurnal cycle. A General Electric 3.6 MW offshore turbine is used as a model for a power production. Including sea state increases or decreases seasonally averaged power production by roughly 1%, which is found to be an economically significant change. These changes occur because the sea state modifies the wind shear (vector wind difference between the buoy height and the moving surface) and therefore the extrapolation from the observation to hub height is affected. These seemingly small differences in capacity can alter profits by millions of dollars depending upon the size of the farm and fluctuations in price per kWh throughout the year. A 2% change in capacity factor can lead to a 10 million dollar difference from total kWh produced from a wind farm of 100 3.6MW turbines. These economic impacts can be a deciding factor in determining whether a resource is viable for development. Modification of power output due to sea states are shown for seasonal and diurnal time scales. Three regions are examined herein: West Florida, East Florida, and Nantucket Sound. The average capacity after sea state is included suggests areas around Florida could provide substantial amounts of wind power throughout three-fourths of the calendar year. At certain times of day winter average produced capacity factors in West Florida can be up to 45% more than in summer when sea state is included. Nantucket Sound capacity factors are calculated for comparison to a region near a planned United States offshore wind farm. This study provides evidence to suggest including sea state in offshore wind resource assessment causes economically significant differences for offshore wind power siting.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Mark Bourassa, Professor Directing Thesis; Robert Hart, Committee Member; Mark Powell, Committee Member; Philip Sura, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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