Articles | Volume 1, issue 2
Wind Energ. Sci., 1, 129–141, 2016
Wind Energ. Sci., 1, 129–141, 2016

Research article 13 Sep 2016

Research article | 13 Sep 2016

Estimating the wake deflection downstream of a wind turbine in different atmospheric stabilities: an LES study

Lukas Vollmer, Gerald Steinfeld, Detlev Heinemann, and Martin Kühn Lukas Vollmer et al.
  • ForWind, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institute of Physics, Ammerländer Heerstr. 136, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany

Abstract. An intentional yaw misalignment of wind turbines is currently discussed as one possibility to increase the overall energy yield of wind farms. The idea behind this control is to decrease wake losses of downstream turbines by altering the wake trajectory of the controlled upwind turbines. For an application of such an operational control, precise knowledge about the inflow wind conditions, the magnitude of wake deflection by a yawed turbine and the propagation of the wake is crucial. The dependency of the wake deflection on the ambient wind conditions as well as the uncertainty of its trajectory are not sufficiently covered in current wind farm control models. In this study we analyze multiple sources that contribute to the uncertainty of the estimation of the wake deflection downstream of yawed wind turbines in different ambient wind conditions. We find that the wake shapes and the magnitude of deflection differ in the three evaluated atmospheric boundary layers of neutral, stable and unstable thermal stability. Uncertainty in the wake deflection estimation increases for smaller temporal averaging intervals. We also consider the choice of the method to define the wake center as a source of uncertainty as it modifies the result. The variance of the wake deflection estimation increases with decreasing atmospheric stability. Control of the wake position in a highly convective environment is therefore not recommended.

Short summary
The wake flow downstream of yaw misaligned wind turbines is studied in numeric simulations of different atmospheric turbulence and shear conditions. We find that the average trajectory of the wake as well as the variation about this average is influenced by the thermal stability of the atmosphere. The results suggest that an intentional intervention in the yaw control of individual turbines to increase overall wind farm performance might be not successful during unstable thermal conditions.