92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Effect of Wind Turbine Wakes on Summer-Time Wind Profiles in the US Great Plains
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Michael E. Rhodes, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and J. K. Lundquist and M. L. Aitken

Poster PDF (873.6 kB)

Wind energy is steadily becoming a significant source of grid electricity in the United States, and the Midwestern United States provides one of the nation's richest wind resources. This study examines the effect of wind turbine wakes on the wind profile in central Iowa. Data were collected using a coherent Doppler LiDAR system located approximately 2.5 rotor diameters north of a row of modern multi-MW wind turbine generators. The prevailing wind direction was from the South allowing the LiDAR to capture wind turbine wake properties; however, a number of periods existed where the LiDAR captured undisturbed flow. The LiDAR system reliably obtained readings up to 200 m above ground level (AGL), spanning the entire rotor disk (~40 m to 120 m AGL) which far surpasses the information provided by traditional wind resource assessment instrumentation.

We extract several relevant parameters from the lidar data including: horizontal wind speed, vertical velocity, horizontal turbulence intensity, wind shear, and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). Each time period at a particular LiDAR measurement height was labeled “wake” or “undisturbed” based on the wind direction at that height. Wake and undisturbed data were averaged separately to create a time-height cross-section averaged day for each parameter. Significant differences between wake and undisturbed data emerge. During the day, wake conditions experience larger values of TKE within the altitudes of the turbine rotor disk while TKE values above the rotor disk are similar between waked and undisturbed conditions. Furthermore, the morning transition of TKE in the atmospheric boundary layer commences earlier during wake conditions than in undisturbed conditions, and the evening decay of TKE persists longer during wake conditions. Waked wind shear is consistently greater than undisturbed periods at the edges of the wind turbine rotor disk (40m & 120m AGL), but especially so during the night where wind shear values during wake conditions are three times larger than in undisturbed conditions. Waked conditions show an increased rate of nocturnal subsidence over that of undisturbed conditions, likely due to the momentum deficit as a result of energy extraction by the turbine. Turbulent intensity shows increased levels and longevity in the waked rotor region when compared to the undisturbed conditions. The presentation will present these differences between waked and undisturbed conditions, and compare these observations to the phenomena accounted for in traditional wind turbine wake models.

Supplementary URL: