Solutions for hurricane resiliency
Wind turbines in extreme weather:
Offshore wind turbines on the Atlantic coast (as well as the Gulf Mexico) have several challenges to contend with—including hurricanes. The Energy Department is developing tools to help wind system designers lower the risk for offshore wind turbine systems located in extreme weather areas.
As noted earlier in this blog series, 13,000 megawatts of offshore wind has been deployed worldwide, yet the U.S. only has one commercial offshore wind farm in operation. The first blog explained that technological advancements in floating foundations are needed to make offshore wind economically feasible in the deep waters off the U.S. Pacific coast, as well as off the coasts of Maine and Hawaii.
This might be part of the reason why most near-term offshore wind development is planned for the East Coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina, where a substantial part of offshore wind resources involve water shallow enough for fixed-bottom foundations. However offshore wind turbines on the Atlantic coast (as well as the Gulf Mexico), have another challenge to contend with: hurricanes, which we’ll explore below.
Offshore, storms can be even stronger. In addition to the wind hitting the turbine, the turbine’s foundation also has to contend with large, powerful waves. The engineers who design wind turbine systems use models to understand how different loads, like winds and waves, will impact a wind turbine and its foundation. The models they use need to be further refined to predict turbine loading in extreme conditions.
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