Analysis of Offshore Wind Energy in Colombia: Current Status and Future Opportunities

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Analysis of Offshore Wind Energy in Colombia: Current Status and Future Opportunities

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Laura Arce Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Dr. Stephen Bayne Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Abstract Offshore wind energy is a sustainable and innovative energy source. However, its performance is extremely dependent on the local meteorology and oceanographic conditions. There are numerous opportunities as well as challenges to generate energy on a commercial scale in Colombia. This work tries to set up a base for harnessing offshore wind energy, considering the integration into the Colombian grid to offshore wind energy and the cost compared with the current system. The roadmap of the future of offshore wind energy in Colombia must be to fulfill three primary objectives identify the best opportunities for harnessing the offshore wind resource, to improve the investment in resources, and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This study provides specific knowledge about opportunities and challenges of offshore wind energy in Barranquilla, Colombia, through both technical and economic aspects.

KeywordsOffshore wind energy; techno-economic analysis; wind power density; Weibull distribution; energy storage; Colombia

I. INTRODUCTION

Renewable energy in Colombia has been increasing at a rapid pace during the last two years. In 2018, the Colombian electricity portfolio from renewable energy was 50 MW, which corresponded to approximately 1% of the total electricity; in 2019, the portfolio corresponded to 1.5% (or 180 MW), and in 2020 it reached 1500MW. By 2022, it is expected to reach 10% of the Colombian electricity portfolio, reaching 2500MW [1]. To maintain the increase in the energy transition route, the electricity sector needs to develop additional generation capacity. On the other hand, Colombia is a country with one of the lowest carbon emission index globally [2]. However, it would not be exceptional to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% by 2050 [3]. Colombia is also one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and weather phenomenon like El Niño, which lowers the level of sea drastically affecting the generation of energy from hydroelectric power systems. Colombia is working according to an important strategic plan for low carbon development (ECDBC) which has been implemented by a short, medium- and long-term development

planning program and supported by several departments such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Environment from this same country [3], [4].

This strategic plan seeks to contribute to national, social, and economic development without causing an increase in the growth of CO2 emissions. Currently, renewable energy sources supply a small part (2%) of Colombias general power generation with non-conventional resources such as solar, wind, and natural gas. However, this country still is not considering offshore wind energy projects [5]. It is necessary to

assess the opportunities and challenges that the inclusion and diversification of sources, such as offshore wind energy, can cause in Colombia. By starting outlining a plan for offshore wind energy, it is expected that a more inclusive and diversified decision making will be implemented [6]. Also, knowing the opportunities and challenges of offshore wind energy in Colombia could accelerate the process to formulate economic plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 [3]. It would increase the non-conventional power system to supply electricity satisfying energy demand for the future of Colombian society. One of the advantages of Colombia is the availability of the coastal line, where some studies have been carried out to identify the potential of wind resources to generate electricity through the establishment of offshore wind farms to use the abundant wind resource in the Caribbean. Therefore, it is necessary to consider factors that affect or make viable the decision of inclusion of offshore wind energy in Colombia. Predominant factors that allow the development of offshore wind energy in this country can be political, technical, and economical.

The purpose of this study is to explore the opportunities and challenges at a technical and economic levels to include offshore wind energy to Colombias energy needs. [6], [7], [8]. The motivation to do this study is to contribute to the knowledge of a different renewable energy source to provide detailed information for inclusion in the future of energy transitions. It would be helpful to use wind potential in the Colombian area of the Caribbean Sea [5], [6].

II. OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY OVERVIEW IN COLOMBIA

Offshore wind energy applies to an environment that depends on several factors. For example, Germany has had an important advance in the inclusion of offshore wind energy due to the characteristics that make it appropriate for the installation of technology. One factor is the depth of the sea near the coast. When offshore wind energy and onshore wind energy are compared, it is necessary to keep in mind the dependence of the natural resources, for example, the speed of wind in a region, which may or may not respond to the operating conditions [2], [7], [8], [9]. It is essential to establish a relationship between the availability of resources and the maturity of offshore wind energy technology in terms of cost- efficiency, highlighting that the availability of offshore wind energy should take advantage of wind energy progress because of the maturity of wind energy which had been possible over time. Furthermore, there is a relationship between technology and politics because a government should support research projects and experimental facilities to achieve a faster evolution

for this technology. In the same way, technology can support political processes [9]. There is no doubt that the United Kingdom has a very strong installed base of offshore wind energy from a decade ago. Therefore, the United States, as part of the developed countries, has invested efforts to get a similar position in the market of this technology and has also invested great efforts to implement this technology since 2013 [10].

Offshore wind technology is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and to supply power demand in the country. Nowadays, a considerable amount is supplied by offshore wind farms in the United States. This has added value to the country's energy portfolio and has increased the level of maturity of the offshore wind technology. Some countries, which have previously installed onshore turbines, are determined to adopt offshore wind farms. India has high offshore wind energy potential, which can be utilized along its vast coastline [10].

Offshore wind energy can be managed differently depending on the country and the strategic plan's policies. The implication of this technology includes the less expected impact on the environment compared with the onshore wind farm, but offshore wind energy is more expensive due to maintenance requirements, as well as support of the government of the country that has resources for the inclusion of offshore wind energy technology [2], [11]. Also, subsidies related to the economic incentives set by governments to promote a specific energy generation technology, modifying the supply and demand of the market [6], [9], [12]. Previous studies have estimated some marine sources such as offshore wind, wave, and tides. In Latin America can be utilized these kinds of sources in Colombia, Venezuela, Argntina, Uruguay, and the southern and

northern Brazil coasts, east of North America, southeastern Asia, northwestern Europe, and in the Mediterranean Sea, The South Pacific Ocean off Oceania and on the Moroccan coast. Of the mentioned zones, the north-northeast of South America shows the highest resource stability. An article published by Rueda-Bayona et al. (2019) suggests that a preliminary study called Assessment of the Marine Power Potential in

Colombia is necessary to enhance the knowledge about the technical, and financial feasibility studies for installation and operation of the offshore wind energy in Colombia [6], [13]. Another study by Osorio et al. (2011) established that

Colombia has a great wind power potential on the coast near to Barranquilla [5].

The Colombian power system has a big dependence on hydropower production; approximately 70% of the installed capacity of the country is made up of hydropower plants due to the fact that Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest water wealth both globally and in Latin America [3], [5], [14], [15]. In accordance to the mean monthly wind speed over the year in Barranquilla reported in 2019, figure 1 demonstrated that, on average, the most wind is seen in January, and on average, the least wind is seen in October.

Fig. 2 Average Wind Speed in Barranquilla-Atlántico, Colombia – Data from the nearest station [16]

The study's significance is based on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the opportunities to generate sustainable strategies in the inclusion of renewable energy according to the natural resources of Colombia.

This study seeks to answer the following research questions:

How to assess the offshore wind energy potential on the coast of Colombia?

How to integrate more renewable energy into Colombias energy portfolio using offshore wind?

III. AN ENGINEERING VISION OF OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY IN TWO CITIES

Wind speed and the mean wind power are two factors extremely important to know the potential of wind energy in a

1

= 2 2

(12)

1

= 2 2

(12)

certain location [17], [18]. Basically, moving air molecules that have mass, though not much, are the composition of the wind. Therefore, a moving object with mass carries kinetic energy in an amount that is given by the equation:

where KE is the kinetic energy and is given in joules. the Mass is measured in kg, the velocity is given in m/s. Air has a known density in (kg/m3) so the mass flow rate of air hitting an offshore wind turbine (which sweeps a known area (m2)) each second is given by the following equation:

=

(22)

1

= 3 2

(32)

1

= 3 2

(32)

So that, the power which is given in energy per second, in the wind hitting an offshore wind turbine with a specific swept area is given by the mass per second calculation into the standard KE equation (1) resulting in the equation (3) [18]:

This research used the Reanalysis database of the NARR project to determine the wind power density for two locations along the coast of Colombia. Barranquilla and La Guajira were the two selected cities [19], [20]. The data was collected from the database of the study of Rueda Barona [6]. This data was used to obtain information about the wind velocity and direction from January 1979 to December 2015 at 10 m of elevation for the two strategic locations [19]. This historical data was first converted into a histogram. The histogram categorized each of the wind speeds over that time period in terms of bins. The bin size for the histograms at each site was chosen to be 1 m/s. The bin range was chosen to be 0 to 20

m/s. This determined the total instances of wind speeds within 1

particular bin to construct the histogram. = 3 2

(42)

m/s. This determined the total instances of wind speeds within 1

particular bin to construct the histogram. = 3 2

(42)

a

The total instances were then converted into a frequency to

determine the percent of time that the wind speed occurs in a bin. This historical data was then used to find the Weibull distribution [17]. The Weibull distribution is the most widely accepted function in the wind industry. This is because the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recommends this function to estimate the wind speed data (via IEC standard 61400-1 for large wind turbines).

The Weibull distribution provides the most accurate representation of the wind speed histograms. The Weibull distribution probability density function (PDF) was utilized to determine the best fit of the histogram's frequency data. The PDF was then defined in terms of its shape and scale factor to estimate the best fit to the histogram data. Figure 2 showed the Weibull distribution in Barranquilla that exceeded the data, representing that this city is the best option compared to the city in Figure 3 which showed that the data exceeded the Weibull distribution.

Fig. 2 Wind Speed Distribution based on the collected data and the best fit Weibull distribution in Barranquilla

Fig. 3 Wind Speed Distribution based on the collected data and the best fit Weibull distribution in La Guajira

This information was then used to determine the wind power density at each site [17], [18].

The wind power density (WPD) is generally defined as:

where WPD is given in Watts per square meters, is the air density (1.225 kg/m3), and is the wind speed in meters per second. By increasing the WPD, the site is increasingly more suitable for wind project development. By taking this equation, multiplying it by the frequency of the bins, and replacing the wind speed with the bin speed in the histogram, the WPD at each bin can then be determined. By summing up each of these bins, the total WPD at the site can, therefore, be estimated. To quantify the wind power density in Barranquilla the shape factor, scale factor, and average velocity (vave) were defined respectively as:

= 2.25 = 3 = 6.357

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