Optimizing Constructability to Reduce Wind Energy Cost

July 23, 2015

Presenter: Forest Flager, Ph.D., Research Associate, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University

Abstract

The design of wind energy projects, including the specification of turbine and substation locations, is typically performed by consultants with the objective of maximizing the wind resource and associated revenue potential. Construction cost and schedule are often not fully assessed until after the design has been completed and the project has gone out to bid, limiting the contractor’s time and scope to add value to the project by improving constructability.

Stanford’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Mortenson Construction and AWS Truepower present a new method to reduce the cost of energy by optimizing turbine and substation locations in consideration of the wind resource and all relevant construction costs.The method enables the project team to evaluate thousands of design and construction alternatives in minutes by leveraging a bespoke multi-level optimization method coupled with existing wind project design software.

The technical and organizational implementation of this method will be discussed in the context of two large wind energy project applications (150 MW and 300 MW). In these applications, the method reduced total construction cost by $3.1M and $4.2M USD, respectively, with equivalent or greater net energy production compared to solutions generated using conventional design methods.

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