WINS50: The impact of large-scale wind energy on the atmosphere

As part of the energy transition, the installed capacity of offshore wind energy in the Dutch part of the North Sea will grow explosively in the next decades. Scenarios with up to 60 GW of offshore wind in 2050 are being examined by various research institutes and by the Dutch government (1, 2, 3, 4). To date, it is highly uncertain how such a large-scale roll-out of wind energy will impact on the atmosphere and vice versa. A better understanding of these interactions is vital for the wind energy sector and policy makers.

The WINS50 project aims to reduce uncertainties between a large-scale roll-out of offshore wind energy in the North Sea and the atmosphere.

Update: WINS50 data available

WINS50 Project Objectives

Left: Snapshot of HARMONIE model output (simulation including wind farms minus simulation without wind farms) showing extensive farm-to-farm wakes. Image: KNMI.
Middle: Impression of current (red) and future (green) wind farms in the southern North Sea. The indicated future windfarms are partly planned and partly hypothetical. The black line indicates the Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone. Image: WINS50.
Right: Wind speed deficit within a wind farm as modeled by GRASP. Image: Whiffle.

WINS50 Activities

The HARMONIE weather model, operated by KNMI, will be run for 2019-2021 to produce winds undisturbed by wake effects (extension of the recently published Dutch Offshore Wind Atlas (DOWA)). The same three years will be simulated with the installed wind power capacity in Europe (both offshore and onshore) on the 1st of January of that year. Moreover, a one-year simulation with a hypothetical 2050 wind energy scenario will be performed.

The computational capabilities of Whiffle's high-resolution turbine-resolving weather model GRASP will be extended to allow for simulations for the entire Dutch North Sea. GRASP will be run for one year with the currently installed wind power capacity and for one year with the 2050 capacity.

Wake-parametrisations will be further improved. Data produced with HARMONIE and GRASP will be made available to the wind energy sector and used to perform in-depth studies on uncertainties in wake modelling and the interactions of large-scale offshore wind energy and the atmosphere.

Background information on the two weather models, HARMONIE and GRASP, is provided in the Research Section.

Example of a simulation with the turbine-resolving atmospheric model GRASP showing the wind field at hub height. The simulation includes the planned wind farms of the Dutch 2030 roadmap for offshore wind energy. Clear wake effects are visible. Video: Whiffle.

WINS50 Research

Currently, many research questions are high on the agenda of the wind energy sector including for instance

Presently, there are no wind atlases that include the effects of a large upscaling of the wind energy capacity in the North Sea. At the same time, the uncertainty of the impact of future wind farms on weather and climate is large.

WINS50 Deliverables

Within WINS50, the following results will be made publicly available:

Schematic overview of the project

A multi-GPU Large-Eddy Simulation model covering the North Sea will be developed. The Fitch, 2012 wind farm parametrization that was built into the HARMONIE weather model in the DOWA-project (5) will be further validated. Other parametrization schemes (e.g. EWP, 6) will be tested in HARMONIE.

GRASP and HARMONIE will be used to produce the world's most advanced wind farm resolving wind atlas for the North Sea area and explore a range of scenarios.

The model data will be published and thoroughly analysed to understand the atmospheric feedback of a future 60GW wind scenario. Note that in this schematic the locations of future wind farms have been chosen arbitrarily for visualization purposes only.

Schematic: Whiffle, TU Delft, KNMI.

About the project

WINS50 is executed by a corsortium of Whiffle, TU Delft and KNMI and is supported by subsidy from Topconsortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) Wind op Zee. The project has started in 2020 and will last for three years.

Contact Project Coordinator

Peter Baas

  1. J Matthijsen, E Dammers, H Elzenga (2018): The Future of the North Sea. The North Sea in 2030 and 2050: a scenario study. PBL publication number: 3193.
  2. Kamerbrief Routekaart Windenergie op Zee 2030 (2018).
  3. Ontwerp Programma Noordzee 2022 - 2027 (2021).
  4. LA van Duren, F Zijl, T van Kessel, VTM van Zeist, LM Vilmin, J van der Meer, GM Aarts, J van der Molen, K Soetaert, and AW Minns (2021): Ecosystem effects of large upscaling of offshrore wind on the North Sea - Synthesis report. Deltares rapport 11203731-004-ZKS-0010.
  5. BJH van Stratum, S Basu, IL Wijnant, J Barkmeijer, J Onvlee and AP Siebesma (2019): Wind turbine parameterisation in HARMONIE-AROME, KNMI Technical report 377.
  6. PJH Volker, J Badger, AN Hahmann, and S Ott (2015): The Explicit Wake Parametrisation V1.0: a wind farm parametrisation in the mesoscale model WRF, Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 3715–3731.