Making the Best of It: Mitigating Wildlife and Environmental Curtailment Losses
Presentation Description: Many wind projects are forced to curtail operations to mitigate impacts on wildlife or for other environmental reasons such as shadow flicker. Historically, blanket curtailments have been enforced which may lead to significant losses in revenue. Recently, “smart curtailment” techniques have been developed that leverage new understanding of bird and bat behaviors, as well as advancements in optimal control techniques that use on-site meteorological measurements and forecast data to optimize curtailment decisions in real-time. Given a budget on acceptable levels of wildlife impact, these optimal algorithms may choose to curtail turbines when wind speeds or power pricing is low, thereby saving operating hours for instances where winds and power demand are forecast to be higher. These decisions can be further informed by models of bird and bat activity in a particular area. By shifting operating and curtailment hours throughout the year in an optimized way, the negative effects of curtailment on power production and plant revenue may be minimized while still adhering to constraints on wildlife impact. This presentation will provide an overview of smart curtailment techniques, to include a detailed discussion of the component elements of bird and/or bat behavior models, in-situ measurements, and optimal control algorithms. A novel dynamic programming optimal control algorithm will be described that enables real-time optimal curtailment decisions given current conditions and forecast data. Results will be shown for an example wind project in which improvements in energy production and plant revenue are quantified when using a smart curtailment strategy.