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Lake Erie Windfarms: Some preliminary modelling using COHERENS

Informal Lunchtime Atmospheric Chemistry Discussion Series

Presented by
Soudeh Afsharian (Phd. Candidate)
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
317 Petrie Science and Engineering Bldg.
York University

Description:  The potential of offshore wind is enormous. It could meet Europe's energy demand seven times over, and the United States energy demand four times over.
Offshore wind is a relatively new technology, More than 90% of the world's offshore wind power is currently installed off northern Europe. Most of the rest is in two "demonstration" projects off China's east coast although there are plans in the USA (Atlantic - Cape Cod and Lake Erie - Cleveland).
The key benefits of offshore wind are:
● The wind resource offshore is generally much greater, thus generating more energy from fewer turbines;
● Most of the world's largest cities are located near a coastline. Offshore wind is suitable for large scale development near the major demand centers, avoiding the need for long transmission lines;
● Building wind farms offshore makes sense in very densely populated coastal regions with high property values, because high property values make on shore development expensive and sometimes leads to public opposition (especially in Ontario!).
● At present there is a moratorium on offshore wind farm developments in Ontario but OMECC have recently announces two RFPs related to offshore wind farms so things may change. If there were large scale wind farm development in Lake Erie (because it is relatively shallow) what impacts would this have on lake circulation and mixing?

On land the Erie Shores Wind Farm was one of the first in Ontario. It allows
200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributor to global warming, to be displaced from the environment annually.
COHERENS (A Coupled Hydrodynamical-Ecological Model for Regional and Shelf Seas) is numerical software that we plan to use in order to simulate the effects of the wind farms on the circulation and mixing of the water. We are working on Lake Erie, since this has the highest potential for offshore wind turbine installation due to its location and as is the shallowest among the Great Lakes. At this stage we can
provide good results of simulating the heat fluxes, temperature, water current and thermocline by running the model in a 1-D condition driven by hourly wind and air temperature data. Our next step will be to extend this simulation to the 3D situation.

Updated on January 8th, 2015.