SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Floating wind turbine

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With often florid allegations about health problems arising from wind turbine exposure now widespread, nocebo effects potentially confound any future investigation of turbine health impact. Historical audits of health complaints are therefore important. We test 4 hypotheses relevant to psychogenic explanations of the variable timing and distribution of health and noise complaints about wind farms in Australia.

Concepts: Australia, Null hypothesis, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Éolienne Bollée

50

Wind turbines remove kinetic energy from the atmospheric flow, which reduces wind speeds and limits generation rates of large wind farms. These interactions can be approximated using a vertical kinetic energy (VKE) flux method, which predicts that the maximum power generation potential is 26% of the instantaneous downward transport of kinetic energy using the preturbine climatology. We compare the energy flux method to the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional atmospheric model equipped with a wind turbine parameterization over a 10(5) km(2) region in the central United States. The WRF simulations yield a maximum generation of 1.1 We⋅m(-2), whereas the VKE method predicts the time series while underestimating the maximum generation rate by about 50%. Because VKE derives the generation limit from the preturbine climatology, potential changes in the vertical kinetic energy flux from the free atmosphere are not considered. Such changes are important at night when WRF estimates are about twice the VKE value because wind turbines interact with the decoupled nocturnal low-level jet in this region. Daytime estimates agree better to 20% because the wind turbines induce comparatively small changes to the downward kinetic energy flux. This combination of downward transport limits and wind speed reductions explains why large-scale wind power generation in windy regions is limited to about 1 We⋅m(-2), with VKE capturing this combination in a comparatively simple way.

Concepts: Energy, Kinetic energy, Wind, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill

42

Objective: The development of new wind farms in many parts of the world has been thwarted by public concern that subaudible sound (infrasound) generated by wind turbines causes adverse health effects. Although the scientific evidence does not support a direct pathophysiological link between infrasound and health complaints, there is a body of lay information suggesting a link between infrasound exposure and health effects. This study tested the potential for such information to create symptom expectations, thereby providing a possible pathway for symptom reporting. Method: A sham-controlled double-blind provocation study, in which participants were exposed to 10 min of infrasound and 10 min of sham infrasound, was conducted. Fifty-four participants were randomized to high- or low-expectancy groups and presented audiovisual information, integrating material from the Internet, designed to invoke either high or low expectations that exposure to infrasound causes specified symptoms. Results: High-expectancy participants reported significant increases, from preexposure assessment, in the number and intensity of symptoms experienced during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. There were no symptomatic changes in the low-expectancy group. Conclusions: Healthy volunteers, when given information about the expected physiological effect of infrasound, reported symptoms that aligned with that information, during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. Symptom expectations were created by viewing information readily available on the Internet, indicating the potential for symptom expectations to be created outside of the laboratory, in real world settings. Results suggest psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Symptomatic treatment, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Capacity factor, Éolienne Bollée

27

For the offshore wind farm Borkum West II in the German North Sea the Noise Mitigation System (NMS) “Big Bubble Curtain” was used during pile driving activities. Within this project systematically variations of different influencing factors on noise reductions such as air volume, nozzle hose sizes, distance of nozzle hoses, etc., were investigated. Additionally the “Big Bubble Curtain” is currently in use for different other OWF in the German North Sea. Therefore, the “Big Bubble Curtain-BBC” is at the moment one of the most investigated NMS under offshore condition. Within this presentation, experiences and results of the above listed projects will be shown and discussed.

Concepts: Baltic Sea, Europe, Germany, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Thorntonbank Wind Farm, North Sea

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Our purpose was 2-fold: 1) to show emergency-related traumatic injury and acute disease patterns and 2) to evaluate air rescue process times in a remotely located German offshore wind farm. Optimally, this will support methodologies to reduce offshore help time (time from the incoming emergency call until offshore arrival of the helicopter).

Concepts: Surgery, Injury, Germany, Physical trauma, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, North Sea

14

As part of global efforts to reduce dependence on carbon-based energy sources there has been a rapid increase in the installation of renewable energy devices. The installation and operation of these devices can result in conflicts with wildlife. In the marine environment, mammals may avoid wind farms that are under construction or operating. Such avoidance may lead to more time spent travelling or displacement from key habitats. A paucity of data on at-sea movements of marine mammals around wind farms limits our understanding of the nature of their potential impacts.Here, we present the results of a telemetry study on harbour seals Phoca vitulina in The Wash, south-east England, an area where wind farms are being constructed using impact pile driving. We investigated whether seals avoid wind farms during operation, construction in its entirety, or during piling activity. The study was carried out using historical telemetry data collected prior to any wind farm development and telemetry data collected in 2012 during the construction of one wind farm and the operation of another.Within an operational wind farm, there was a close-to-significant increase in seal usage compared to prior to wind farm development. However, the wind farm was at the edge of a large area of increased usage, so the presence of the wind farm was unlikely to be the cause.There was no significant displacement during construction as a whole. However, during piling, seal usage (abundance) was significantly reduced up to 25 km from the piling activity; within 25 km of the centre of the wind farm, there was a 19 to 83% (95% confidence intervals) decrease in usage compared to during breaks in piling, equating to a mean estimated displacement of 440 individuals. This amounts to significant displacement starting from predicted received levels of between 166 and 178 dB re 1 μPa(p-p). Displacement was limited to piling activity; within 2 h of cessation of pile driving, seals were distributed as per the non-piling scenario. Synthesis and applications. Our spatial and temporal quantification of avoidance of wind farms by harbour seals is critical to reduce uncertainty and increase robustness in environmental impact assessments of future developments. Specifically, the results will allow policymakers to produce industry guidance on the likelihood of displacement of seals in response to pile driving; the relationship between sound levels and avoidance rates; and the duration of any avoidance, thus allowing far more accurate environmental assessments to be carried out during the consenting process. Further, our results can be used to inform mitigation strategies in terms of both the sound levels likely to cause displacement and what temporal patterns of piling would minimize the magnitude of the energetic impacts of displacement.

Concepts: Pinniped, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind power in Denmark, Environmental impact assessment, Wind power in the United States, Pile driver

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The rapid development of wind energy has raised concerns about environmental impacts. Temperature changes are found in the vicinity of wind farms and previous simulations have suggested that large-scale wind farms could alter regional climate. However, assessments of the effects of realistic wind power development scenarios at the scale of a continent are missing. Here we simulate the impacts of current and near-future wind energy production according to European Union energy and climate policies. We use a regional climate model describing the interactions between turbines and the atmosphere, and find limited impacts. A statistically significant signal is only found in winter, with changes within ±0.3 °C and within 0-5% for precipitation. It results from the combination of local wind farm effects and changes due to a weak, but robust, anticyclonic-induced circulation over Europe. However, the impacts remain much weaker than the natural climate interannual variability and changes expected from greenhouse gas emissions.

Concepts: Climate, Climate change, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind power in Denmark, World energy resources and consumption, Wind turbine

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More than 12 GW of offshore wind turbines are currently in operation in European waters. To optimise the use of the marine areas, wind farms are typically clustered in units of several hundred turbines. Understanding wakes of wind farms, which is the region of momentum and energy deficit downwind, is important for optimising the wind farm layouts and operation to minimize costs. While in most weather situations (unstable atmospheric stratification), the wakes of wind turbines are only a local effect within the wind farm, satellite imagery reveals wind-farm wakes to be several tens of kilometres in length under certain conditions (stable atmospheric stratification), which is also predicted by numerical models. The first direct in situ measurements of the existence and shape of large wind farm wakes by a specially equipped research aircraft in 2016 and 2017 confirm wake lengths of more than tens of kilometres under stable atmospheric conditions, with maximum wind speed deficits of 40%, and enhanced turbulence. These measurements were the first step in a large research project to describe and understand the physics of large offshore wakes using direct measurements, together with the assessment of satellite imagery and models.

Concepts: Units of measurement, Wind, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Capacity factor, Wind power in Texas

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Objective: Wind farm developments have been hampered by claims that sound from wind turbines causes symptoms and negative health reports in nearby residents. As scientific reviews have failed to identify a plausible link between wind turbine sound and health effects, psychological expectations have been proposed as an explanation for health complaints. Building on recent work showing negative expectations can create symptoms from wind turbines, we investigated whether positive expectations can produce the opposite effect, in terms of a reduction in symptoms and improvements in reported health. Method: 60 participants were randomized to either positive or negative expectation groups and subsequently exposed to audible wind farm sound and infrasound. Prior to exposure, negative expectation participants watched a DVD incorporating TV footage about health effects said to be caused by infrasound produced by wind turbines. In contrast, positive expectation participants viewed a DVD that outlined the possible therapeutic effects of infrasound exposure. Results: During exposure to audible windfarm sound and infrasound, symptoms and mood were strongly influenced by the type of expectations. Negative expectation participants experienced a significant increase in symptoms and a significant deterioration in mood, while positive expectation participants reported a significant decrease in symptoms and a significant improvement in mood. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that expectations can influence symptom and mood reports in both positive and negative directions. The results suggest that if expectations about infrasound are framed in more neutral or benign ways, then it is likely reports of symptoms or negative effects could be nullified. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: All rights reserved, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Capacity factor, Éolienne Bollée

5

The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that if the United States is to generate 20% of its electricity from wind, over 50 GW will be required from shallow offshore turbines. Hurricanes are a potential risk to these turbines. Turbine tower buckling has been observed in typhoons, but no offshore wind turbines have yet been built in the United States. We present a probabilistic model to estimate the number of turbines that would be destroyed by hurricanes in an offshore wind farm. We apply this model to estimate the risk to offshore wind farms in four representative locations in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal waters of the United States. In the most vulnerable areas now being actively considered by developers, nearly half the turbines in a farm are likely to be destroyed in a 20-y period. Reasonable mitigation measures–increasing the design reference wind load, ensuring that the nacelle can be turned into rapidly changing winds, and building most wind plants in the areas with lower risk–can greatly enhance the probability that offshore wind can help to meet the United States' electricity needs.

Concepts: United States, Atlantic Ocean, Tropical cyclone, Wind power, Wind farm, Floating wind turbine, Thorntonbank Wind Farm, Wind turbine