Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Wind Energ. Sci., 2, 295–306, 2017
Wind Energ. Sci., 2, 295–306, 2017

Research article 02 Jun 2017

Research article | 02 Jun 2017

Atmospheric turbulence affects wind turbine nacelle transfer functions

Clara M. St. Martin1, Julie K. Lundquist1,2, Andrew Clifton2, Gregory S. Poulos3, and Scott J. Schreck2 Clara M. St. Martin et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC), University of Colorado at Boulder, 311 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 2National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, USA
  • 3V-Bar, LLC, 1301 Arapahoe Street, Suite 105, Golden, CO 80401, USA

Abstract. Despite their potential as a valuable source of individual turbine power performance and turbine array energy production optimization information, nacelle-mounted anemometers have often been neglected because complex flows around the blades and nacelle interfere with their measurements. This work quantitatively explores the accuracy of and potential corrections to nacelle anemometer measurements to determine the degree to which they may be useful when corrected for these complex flows, particularly for calculating annual energy production (AEP) in the absence of other meteorological data. Using upwind meteorological tower measurements along with nacelle-based measurements from a General Electric (GE) 1.5sle model, we calculate empirical nacelle transfer functions (NTFs) and explore how they are impacted by different atmospheric and turbulence parameters. This work provides guidelines for the use of NTFs for deriving useful wind measurements from nacelle-mounted anemometers. Corrections to the nacelle anemometer wind speed measurements can be made with NTFs and used to calculate an AEP that comes within 1 % of an AEP calculated with upwind measurements. We also calculate unique NTFs for different atmospheric conditions defined by temperature stratification as well as turbulence intensity, turbulence kinetic energy, and wind shear. During periods of low stability as defined by the Bulk Richardson number (RB), the nacelle-mounted anemometer underestimates the upwind wind speed more than during periods of high stability at some wind speed bins below rated speed, leading to a steeper NTF during periods of low stability. Similarly, during periods of high turbulence, the nacelle-mounted anemometer underestimates the upwind wind speed more than during periods of low turbulence at most wind bins between cut-in and rated wind speed. Based on these results, we suggest different NTFs be calculated for different regimes of atmospheric stability and turbulence for power performance validation purposes.

Short summary
We use upwind and nacelle-based measurements from a wind turbine and investigate the influence of atmospheric stability and turbulence regimes on nacelle transfer functions (NTFs) used to correct nacelle-mounted anemometer measurements. This work shows that correcting nacelle winds using NTFs results in similar energy production estimates to those obtained using upwind tower-based wind speeds. Further, stability and turbulence metrics have been found to have an effect on NTFs below rated speed.