October 9, 2013

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New Release of WEP-View Wind Energy Assessment Software Now Available

MMI Engineering, part of the Geosyntec Family of Companies, has released a new version of Wind Energy Potential - View (WEP-View), its offshore wind farm analysis software.

The WEP-View 2.0 software package was designed by Alok Jha, Ph.D., an Associate of the firm based in MMI Engineering's California office. It was developed to meet an industry demand for a tool that can assess the electricity and revenue generation potential in an offshore wind farm.

WEP-View helps developers optimize the layout of a wind farm, which allows offshore wind energy producers to maximize the power output of the wind farm and the profit potential of the facility. Investors can use the tool to determine the different probability levels of electricity generation for a specific wind farm site.

"Our vision was to develop a tool that would serve as the central decision-making tool for offshore wind farm stakeholders," Dr. Jha said. "The design of the tool is grounded in sound technical models for the key parameters that help define the final metric of interest, which is the total power output from a wind farm."

The methodology driving WEP-View begins with an analysis of existing wind resource data. These are converted to an annual probability for wind speeds entering the wind farm. WEP-View then takes into account such variables as wind turbine power rating specifications, the number of wind turbines operating at a proposed facility, and the size of turbine blades to estimate the total electricity that could be generated per farm.

A key element modeled by the tool is the loss of power generation due to "wake" effects, or the shielding effect of wind turbines along the direction of the blowing winds. Finally, the software takes into account transmission losses for energy sent back to the mainland to estimate the amount of electricity available for sales.

"Having been in the offshore wind industry for several years now, I believe the industry needs an objective framework for assessing likely levels of electricity that can be generated in a wind farm," said Dan Dolan, a Principal civil engineer of the firm also based in MMI Engineering's California office. "There is a strong need for engineers to optimize the layout of a limited number of turbines in a farm in such a way as to maximize the power generation capabilities in an offshore environment."

WEP-View is built as a Microsoft Excel tool, which offers users convenience and familiarity with the interface. It features a back-end efficient numerical engine with the capacity for analysis of large wind input files for an entire wind farm. Currently, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) licenses WEP-View from MMI Engineering, with the intent to use the tool to assess value of offshore leases for wind farm development.