Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
23 February 2024

Power Production, Inter- and Intra-Array Wake Losses from the U.S. East Coast Offshore Wind Energy Lease Areas



There is an urgent need to develop accurate predictions of power production, wake losses and array–array interactions from multi-GW offshore wind farms in order to enable developments that maximize power benefits, minimize levelized cost of energy and reduce investment uncertainty. New, climatologically representative simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are presented and analyzed to address these research needs with a specific focus on offshore wind energy lease areas along the U.S. east coast. These, uniquely detailed, simulations are designed to quantify important sources of wake-loss projection uncertainty. They sample across different wind turbine deployment scenarios and thus span the range of plausible installed capacity densities (ICDs) and also include two wind farm parameterizations (WFPs; Fitch and explicit wake parameterization (EWP)) and consider the precise WRF model release used. System-wide mean capacity factors for ICDs of 3.5 to 6.0 MWkm−2 range from 39 to 45% based on output from Fitch and 50 to 55% from EWP. Wake losses are 27–37% (Fitch) and 11–19% (EWP). The discrepancy in CF and wake losses from the two WFPs derives from two linked effects. First, EWP generates a weaker ‘deep array effect’ within the largest wind farm cluster (area of 3675 km2), though both parameterizations indicate substantial within-array wake losses. If 15 MW wind turbines are deployed at an ICD of 6 MWkm−2 the most heavily waked wind turbines generate an average of only 32–35% of the power of those that experience the freestream (undisturbed) flow. Nevertheless, there is no evidence for saturation of the resource. The wind power density (electrical power generation per unit of surface area) increases with ICD and lies between 2 and 3 Wm−2. Second, EWP also systematically generates smaller whole wind farm wakes. Sampling across all offshore wind energy lease areas and the range of ICD considered, the whole wind farm wake extent for a velocity deficit of 5% is 1.18 to 1.38 times larger in simulations with Fitch. Over three-quarters of the variability in normalized wake extents is attributable to variations in freestream wind speeds, turbulent kinetic energy and boundary layer depth. These dependencies on meteorological parameters allow for the development of computationally efficient emulators of wake extents from Fitch and EWP. 

Pryor, Sara C., and Rebecca J. Barthelmie. 2024. “Power Production, Inter- And Intra-Array Wake Losses From The U.s. East Coast Offshore Wind Energy Lease Areas”. Energies 17 (5). MDPI AG: 1063. doi:10.3390/en17051063.
Funding Program Area(s)
Additional Resources:
NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center)