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Energies 2014, 7(5), 3420-3437; doi:10.3390/en7053420

Hierarchical Communication Network Architectures for Offshore Wind Power Farms

1 Department of Computer Engineering, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea 2 Smart Grid Research Center, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 March 2014 / Revised: 21 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 22 May 2014
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Nowadays, large-scale wind power farms (WPFs) bring new challenges for both electric systems and communication networks. Communication networks are an essential part of WPFs because they provide real-time control and monitoring of wind turbines from a remote location (local control center). However, different wind turbine applications have different requirements in terms of data volume, latency, bandwidth, QoS, etc. This paper proposes a hierarchical communication network architecture that consist of a turbine area network (TAN), farm area network (FAN), and control area network (CAN) for offshore WPFs. The two types of offshore WPFs studied are small-scale WPFs close to the grid and medium-scale WPFs far from the grid. The wind turbines are modelled based on the logical nodes (LN) concepts of the IEC 61400-25 standard. To keep pace with current developments in wind turbine technology, the network design takes into account the extension of the LNs for both the wind turbine foundation and meteorological measurements. The proposed hierarchical communication network is based on Switched Ethernet. Servers at the control center are used to store and process the data received from the WPF. The network architecture is modelled and evaluated via OPNET. We investigated the end-to-end (ETE) delay for different WPF applications. The results are validated by comparing the amount of generated sensing data with that of received traffic at servers. The network performance is evaluated, analyzed and discussed in view of end-to-end (ETE) delay for different link bandwidths.
Keywords: wind turbine; wind power farm; communication network; IEC 61400-25; logical nodes; Ethernet; OPNET wind turbine; wind power farm; communication network; IEC 61400-25; logical nodes; Ethernet; OPNET
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ahmed, M.A.; Kim, Y.-C. Hierarchical Communication Network Architectures for Offshore Wind Power Farms. Energies 2014, 7, 3420-3437.

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