Engineering Negative Cycle Canceling for Wind Farm Cabling

08/06/2019 ∙ by Sascha Gritzbach, et al. ∙ 0

In a wind farm turbines convert wind energy into electrical energy. The generation of each turbine is transmitted, possibly via other turbines, to a substation that is connected to the power grid. On every possible interconnection there can be at most one of various different cable types. Each type comes with a cost per unit length and with a capacity. Designing a cost-minimal cable layout for a wind farm to feed all turbine production into the power grid is called the Wind Farm Cabling Problem (WCP). We consider a formulation of WCP as a flow problem on a graph where the cost of a flow on an edge is modeled by a step function originating from the cable types. Recently, we presented a proof-of-concept for a negative cycle canceling-based algorithm for WCP [14]. We extend key steps of that heuristic and build a theoretical foundation that explains how this heuristic tackles the problems arising from the special structure of WCP. A thorough experimental evaluation identifies the best setup of the algorithm and compares it to existing methods from the literature such as Mixed-integer Linear Programming (MILP) and Simulated Annealing (SA). The heuristic runs in a range of half a millisecond to approximately one and a half minutes on instances with up to 500 turbines. It provides solutions of similar quality compared to both competitors with running times of one hour and one day. When comparing the solution quality after a running time of two seconds, our algorithm outperforms the MILP- and SA-approaches, which allows it to be applied in interactive wind farm planning.

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