Massive Simplification of the Wind Farm Layout Optimization Problem


wind farm, layout optimization, dimension reduction, multimodality, gradient-based, gradient-freee


The wind farm layout optimization problem is notoriously difficult to solve because of the large number of design variables and extreme multimodality of the design space. Because of the multimodality of the space and often discontinuous models used in wind farm modeling, the wind industry is heavily dependent on gradient-free techniques for wind farm layout optimization. Unfortunately, the computational expense required with these methods scales poorly with increasing numbers of variables. Thus, many companies and researchers have been limited in the size of wind farms they can optimize. To solve these issues, we present the boundary-grid parameterization. This parameterization uses only five variables to define the layout of a wind farm with any number of turbines. For a 100 turbine wind farm, we show that optimizing the five variables of the boundary-grid method produces wind farms that perform just as well as farms where the location of each turbine is optimized individually, which requires 200 design variables. Our presented method facilitates the study and both gradient-free and gradient-based optimization of large wind farms, something that has traditionally been less scalable with increasing numbers of design variables.

Original Publication Citation

Stanley, A. P. J., and Ning, A., “Massive Simplification of the Wind Farm Layout Optimization Problem,” Wind Energy Science, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 663–676, Dec. 2019. doi:10.5194/wes-4-663-2019

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Copernicus Publiations




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor