The development of utility-scale wind farms that can produce energy at a cost comparable to that of conventional energy resources presents significant challenges to today’s wind energy industry. The consideration of the combined impact of key design and environmental factors on the performance of a wind farm is a crucial part of the solution to this challenge. The state of the art in optimal wind project planning includes wind farm layout design and more recently turbine selection. The scope of farm layout optimization and the predicted wind project performance however depends on several other critical site-scale factors, which are often not explicitly accounted for in the wind farm planning literature. These factors include: (i) the land area per MW installed (LAMI), and (ii) the nameplate capacity (in MW) of the farm. In this paper, we develop a framework to quantify and analyze the roles of these crucial design factors in optimal wind farm planning. A set of sample values of LAMI and installed farm capacities is first defined. For each sample farm definition, simultaneous optimization of the farm layout and turbine selection is performed to maximize the farm capacity factor (CF). To this end, we apply the recently developed Unrestricted Wind Farm Layout Optimization (UWFLO) method. The CF of the optimized farm is then represented as a function of the nameplate capacity and the LAMI, using response surface methodologies. The variation of the optimized CF with these site-scale factors is investigated for a representative wind site in North Dakota. It was found that, a desirable CF value corresponds to a cutoff “LAMI vs nameplate capacity” curve — the identification of this cutoff curve is critical to the development of an economically viable wind energy project.

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