New project aims to develop tools for smart regulation of wind turbine noise

By DTU Wind Energy, November 12, 2018

If Denmark is going to be independent of fossil fuels in 2050, the amount of green energy has to be substantially enhanced. Wind energy will be the greatest contributor and the amount of energy from wind turbines will have to increase even further in order to reach this target. Onshore wind turbines are still significantly cheaper and easier to maintain than offshore turbines. Consequently, energy from onshore wind turbines is still more cost-effective.

Often noise requirements for wind turbines causes a limit to the amount of energy, which can be produced. To investigate this issue, DTU Wind Energy, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, EMD International and DELTA will collaborate on the project DecoWind, which is supported by Innovation Fund Denmark with 13.4 mio. DKK.

With the project, the consortium wishes to investigate wind turbine noise and develop modulation tools for global use in order to make more precise noise calculations, making it possible to produce more energy without generating more noise. How can we increase the annual energy production without increasing the amount of noise from the wind turbines? That is the main question to be addressed by the DecoWind consortium.

”With the project, we wish to develop high-fidelity noise chain models that can predict noise from wind turbines and wind farms in a precise manner. Furthermore, it is our goal to optimize the annual energy production without exceeding the current noise limitations”, Wen Zong Shen, professor at DTU Wind Energy and DecoWind project leader, explains.

Smart noise regulation

DecoWind is a three-year-long project which Siemens-Gamesa Renewable Energy is looking forward to start working on. As a wind turbine manufacturer, they are very familiar with this issue of wind turbine noise. Stefan Oerlemans, Senior Key Expert Aeroacoustics at Siemens-Gamesa Renewable Energy, explains:

“We are participating in this project because we want to improve and validate the tools for modulation of noise from wind farms. Combined with smarter regulations, this will allow us to increase the energy output without exceeding the noise limitations. Doing this we can lower the costs of wind energy while taking societal restrictions into consideration”.

The new models will not only be used in Denmark. Through the widespread windPRO-software, EMD International A/S will make the models available for users worldwide. Thomas Sørensen, acoustics-responsible at EMD, explains:

“Wind turbine noise is a hot topic worldwide and with the new models we can offer operators, planners and authorities a solution that both optimizes the production and improves the protection of people living close to turbines. Just being able to offer a larger level of certainty compared to current tools is very attractive. Adding the dynamic element, we will be able to offer something that no one else can”

Furthermore, DecoWind will develop a suggestion for smarter noise regulation of wind turbines in order to give a more precise indication of the noise audible to neighbours. Today, the noise limit for wind turbines is 37 dB in residential areas and 42 dB in uninhabited areas, at a wind speed of 6 meters per second.

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