Project Acronym


Project Title

Wholistic and Integrated digital tools for extended Lifetime and profitability of Offshore Wind farms

Project reference


Number: 101122184

EU Grant

~5.8 M€

Project Coordinator

Ceit (Ceit Technology Center) 


Project Start Date


Project End Date


Type of Action



~18 M€

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement 1011122184 . 

As wind energy (and other weakly-controllable renewables) takes a larger share in the energy markets, wind farms (WF) take a more important role in power system stability. The current scheme of systematically maximising power production while solving for the variability of wind with other dispatchable electricity generation sources bidding in day-ahead markets is expected -and already witnessed- to be challenged1. Instead, wind farms will actively contribute to power system stability by delivering a commanded (rather than maximum) power output following the needs of the grid operator. This implies downregulating (also known as derating) the wind farm (producing less than available power), and hence the individual turbines. Playing with possible dispatch combinations brings an additional degree of freedom, that may be used to prevent structural degradation of the asset.

Current practice consists often in downregulating each turbine by the same amount, i.e. uniform power dispatch between the turbines, or in stopping a few turbines and letting the others produce maximum power. This is done in a static, open-loop way without a supervisory WF controller to actively track the commanded total power in closed loop, with the advantage of not making use of —and hence not needing knowledge about—available power.

This approach is however not based on recent research on wind farm control and optimal operation planning. It does not use the potential for improved grid integration and reduced asset degradation that farm operators have at hand. To the contrary, excessive downregulation and frequent start-stop events may negatively affect fatigue life as turbines operate in off-design conditions, due to transients and wave loads with absent or diminished aerodynamic damping. Those topics are a raising concern from farm operators which yet only feature a handful of studies2,3,4 which need to be complemented and remain to be used in farm-level simulations and decision making.

Maintenance costs

Reduction of 50% on the inspection costs

Design & Operation life

20% of lifetime extension in WFs designed with 25 years of lifetime

Enviromental impact

Expectation of reducing noise pollution by 4%

Levelized cost of energy (LCOE)

Up to 10% reduction of LCOE, between 3.5 and 4.5€/MWh

And not only that, but WF control strategy is also intertwined with an adequate SHM, including (i) pitting corrosion, coating and loads/fatigue degradation, and (ii) smarter models for RUL and CL assessment.

Reasons for lack of success in implementing new decision-making schemes are of multiple natures. One stems from wind turbines being the responsibility of turbine manufacturers as subcontractors, rather than of the farm operators themselves; advanced control schemes for turbine-level generator torque and blade pitch control as well as wake steering by yaw-angle control would first have to go through a tedious certification process before being applicable. Another is the multiscale, multidisciplinary nature of wind energy making the joint inclusion of component degradation and grid integration particularly complex. WILLOW will address these challenges by (i) focusing on power dispatch control which is the farm operator’s freedom and (ii) complementary expertise and efficient multiscale, multidisciplinary modelling solutions based on recent research.

Furthermore, this situation requires specific treatment in offshore windfarms, which have additional degradation rates compared to onshore wind farms, due to (i) the harsher environment conditions (corrosion due to moisture and salinity) and (ii) additional loads derived from the water interface (waves, tides and currents). WILLOW will focus on these specific structural issues of the offshore wind farms, as a complement to other projects expected to focus on onshore windfarms.

WILLOW integrated system will provide an open-source, data-driven smart curtailment solution to the Wind Farm Operators with the basis of an integrated Wind Farm Control system looking for a trade-off between the power production and the lifetime consumption. With this aim, WILLOW pretends to design a novel Structural Health Monitoring System able to provide high quality data to perform a reliable fleet life assessment using physical models and AI methods which will be used for decision-making and maintenance scheduling. This will contribute to the reduction of the LCOE and to the increase of the AEP towards the current trend of design and operating life of offshore wind farms with up to 20 MW turbines beyond 50 years.

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