06 Mar 2023
 | 06 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

The value of wake steering wind farm control in U.S. energy markets

Eric Simley, Dev Millstein, Seongeun Jeong, and Paul Fleming

Abstract. Wind farm flow control represents a category of control strategies for increasing wind plant power production and/or reducing structural loads by mitigating the impact of wake interactions between wind turbines. Wake steering is a wind farm flow control technology in which specific turbines are misaligned with the wind to deflect their wakes away from downstream turbines, thus increasing overall wind plant power production. In addition to promising results from simulation studies, wake steering has been shown to successfully increase energy production through several recent field trials. However, to better understand the benefits of wind farm flow control strategies such as wake steering, the value of the additional energy to the electrical grid should be evaluated—for example, by considering the price of electricity when the additional energy is produced. In this study, we investigate the potential for wake steering to increase the value of wind plant energy production by combining model predictions of power gains using the FLOw Redirection and Induction in Steady State (FLORIS) engineering wind farm control tool with historical electricity price data for 15 existing U.S. wind plants in four different electricity market regions. Specifically, for each wind plant, we use FLORIS to estimate power gains from wake steering for a time series of hourly wind speeds and wind directions spanning the years 2018–2020, obtained from the ERA5 reanalysis data set. The modeled power gains are then correlated with hourly electricity prices for the nearest transmission node. Through this process we find that wake steering increases annual energy production (AEP) between 0.5 % and 2 %, depending on the wind plant, with average increases in potential annual revenue (i.e., annual value production (AVP)) 10 % higher than the AEP gains. For all wind plants, AVP gain was found to exceed AEP gain. But the ratio between AVP gain and AEP gain is greater for wind plants in regions with high wind penetration because electricity prices tend to be relatively higher during periods with below-rated wind plant power production, when wake losses occur and wake steering is active; for wind plants in the Southwest Power Pool—the region with the highest wind penetration analyzed (31 %)—the increase in AVP from wake steering is 21 % higher than the AEP gain. Consequently, we expect the value of wake steering, and other types of wind farm flow control, to increase as wind penetration continues to grow.

Eric Simley et al.

Status: open (until 09 Apr 2023)

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Eric Simley et al.

Eric Simley et al.


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Short summary
Wake steering is a wind farm control technology in which turbines are misaligned with the wind to deflect their wakes away from downstream turbines, increasing total power production. In this paper, we use a wind farm control model and historical electricity prices to assess the potential increase in market value from wake steering for 15 U.S. wind plants. For all plants, we find that the relative increase in market value from wake steering exceeds the relative increase in energy production.