Articles | Volume 1, issue 2
Research article
01 Nov 2016
Research article |  | 01 Nov 2016

Wind turbine power production and annual energy production depend on atmospheric stability and turbulence

Clara M. St. Martin, Julie K. Lundquist, Andrew Clifton, Gregory S. Poulos, and Scott J. Schreck

Abstract. Using detailed upwind and nacelle-based measurements from a General Electric (GE) 1.5sle model with a 77 m rotor diameter, we calculate power curves and annual energy production (AEP) and explore their sensitivity to different atmospheric parameters to provide guidelines for the use of stability and turbulence filters in segregating power curves. The wind measurements upwind of the turbine include anemometers mounted on a 135 m meteorological tower as well as profiles from a lidar. We calculate power curves for different regimes based on turbulence parameters such as turbulence intensity (TI) as well as atmospheric stability parameters such as the bulk Richardson number (RB). We also calculate AEP with and without these atmospheric filters and highlight differences between the results of these calculations. The power curves for different TI regimes reveal that increased TI undermines power production at wind speeds near rated, but TI increases power production at lower wind speeds at this site, the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Similarly, power curves for different RB regimes reveal that periods of stable conditions produce more power at wind speeds near rated and periods of unstable conditions produce more power at lower wind speeds. AEP results suggest that calculations without filtering for these atmospheric regimes may overestimate the AEP. Because of statistically significant differences between power curves and AEP calculated with these turbulence and stability filters for this turbine at this site, we suggest implementing an additional step in analyzing power performance data to incorporate effects of atmospheric stability and turbulence across the rotor disk.

Short summary
We use turbine nacelle-based measurements and measurements from an upwind tower to calculate wind turbine power curves and predict the production of energy. We explore how different atmospheric parameters impact these power curves and energy production estimates. Results show statistically significant differences between power curves and production estimates calculated with turbulence and stability filters, and we suggest implementing an additional step in analyzing power performance data.
Final-revised paper