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
- The WINS50 datasets with model output from the HARMONIE-AROME weather model are available. For the years 2019, 2020, and 2021 datasets from two simulations are available: one without wind farms and one including the effects of operational wind farms. Also, one year of modeling results including the effects of a hypothetical 2050 offshore capacity scenario are available (using the weather conditions from 2020). Details on the different datasets and information how to obtain the data are provided in the Data Section of this website.
- To facilitate the accessibility of the datasets the WINS50 Image Library has been set-up. Explore how a tenfold increase in the North Sea wind energy capacity impacts on wind, temperature, and humidity fields!
WINS50 Project Objectives
- Provide the wind energy sector, policy makers, and the research community with the most up-to-date wind atlas up to 600m height that incorporates the impact of both existing and future (2050) wind farms.
- Develop a high-resolution (100m), turbine-resolving weather model for making operational forecasts and wind resource assessments for the entire Dutch North Sea.
- Increase the understanding of the impact of present and future North Sea wind farms on the atmosphere.
- Provide decision making support for policy makers and wind energy providers (e.g. by doing sensitivity studies with different power densities in offshore wind farms).
- Develop tools and provide datasets for additional integration studies such as for energy storage needs, electricity network planning and ecological studies.
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.
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.
Currently, many research questions are high on the agenda of the wind energy sector including for instance
- Farm-to-farm interactions
- Global blockage
- Deep array effects
- Limits to power yield due to finite vertical exchange of momentum
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.
Within WINS50, the following results will be made publicly available:
- HARMONIE data without wake effects (extension of the DOWA data) for 3 years 2019-2021.
- HARMONIE data with wake effects for 2019-2021, i.e. from a simulation that includes the wind farms operational on the 1st of January of that year.
- HARMONIE data with wake effects for a single year, but with a hypothetical 2050 offshore wind energy capacity scenario.
- One year of GRASP LES (100m resolution) data for the entire North Sea 1) with the 2019 capacity and 2) with a 2050 capacity scenario.
- Sensitivity studies with HARMONIE and GRASP, targeted to answer specific research questions.
- Wind power production time series per wind farm zone. These will facilitate other research that targets the integration of wind energy in the electricity and/or energy system.
- Reports and peer-reviewed publications on the effects of large-scale wind energy on the atmosphere on the North Sea.
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
- 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.
- Kamerbrief Routekaart Windenergie op Zee 2030 (2018).
- Ontwerp Programma Noordzee 2022 - 2027 (2021).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.