Optimizing transmission from distant wind farms
Date of Original Version
Energy Policy Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 2806–2815
Abstract or Table of Contents
We explore the optimal size of the transmission line from distant wind farms, modeling the tradeoff between transmission cost and benefit from delivered wind power. We also examine the benefit of connecting a second wind farm, requiring additional transmission, in order to increase output smoothness. Since a wind farm has a low capacity factor, the transmission line would not be heavily loaded, on average; depending on the time profile of generation, for wind farms with capacity factor of 29–34%, profit is maximized for a line that is about 3/4 of the nameplate capacity of the wind farm. Although wind generation is inexpensive at a good site, transmitting wind power over 1600 km (about the distance from Wyoming to Los Angeles) doubles the delivered cost of power. As the price for power rises, the optimal capacity of transmission increases. Connecting wind farms lowers delivered cost when the wind farms are close, despite the high correlation of output over time. Imposing a penalty for failing to deliver minimum contracted supply leads to connecting more distant wind farms.