The Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (RIOSAMP) has been implemented in Rhode Island since 2008 to provide guidance to local regulators in the zoning of renewable energy, with a focus on the siting of offshore wind farms. The project culminated in the siting of the first North American offshore wind project, optimized using a spatial planning approach combining exclusionary and mitigating factors. The optimization of mitigating factors is based on a standard cost model approach and extended to include ecological and societal factors. This macro-siting optimization phase provided the framework to define a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) for wind farm development and the present study seeks the siting optimization of the wind farm layout within this zone. The optimization considers the loss in power resulting from turbine wake interaction, a cable cost clustering algorithm, and the spatial variation of both foundation cost and the available wind resource within the REZ through a micrositing objective function. This initial objective function is extended to include ecological and social costs. The layout optimization is based on a Genetic Algorithm (GA) optimization scheme. The method is applied to the REZ area, demonstrating that a gain of approximately $10 million over 20 years could be obtained if an “optimal layout” would be selected over the initial layout chosen by the developers.

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