To characterize the relationships between the meteorological inflow and turbine wakes, a collaborative field campaign was designed and carried out at the Department of Energy's National Wind Technology Center (NREL/NWTC) in south Boulder, Colorado, in spring 2011. This site often experiences channeled flow with a consistent wind direction, enabling robust statistics of wake velocity deficits and turbulence enhancements. Using both in situ and remote sensing instrumentation, measurements upwind and downwind of multi-megawatt wind turbine in complex terrain quantified the variability of wind turbine inflow and wakes from an industrial-scale turbine. The turbine of interest has a rated power of 2.3 MW, a rotor diameter of 100m, and a hub height of 80m.
In addition to several meteorological towers, one extending to hub height (80m) and another extending above the top of the rotor disk (135m), a Triton mini-sodar and a Windcube lidar characterized the inflow to the turbine and the variability across the site. The centerpiece instrument of the TWICS campaign was the NOAA High Resolution Doppler lidar (HRDL), a scanning lidar which captured three-dimensional images of the turbine inflow and wake. Over several weeks, 48+ hours of HRDL observations during a variety of wind speed and atmospheric stability conditions were collected using three scanning strategies. Wake features such as lofting, meandering, intersection with the ground, and expansion factors are identified and discussed. Observations of a remarkably long-distance wake are presented and compared with existing wake models.