journal article

An investigation of spatial wind direction variability and its consideration in engineering models


We propose that considering mesoscale wind direction changes in the computation of wind farm cluster wakes could reduce the uncertainty of engineering wake modeling tools. The relevance of mesoscale wind direction changes is investigated using a wind climatology of the German Bight area covering 30 years, derived from the New European Wind Atlas (NEWA). Furthermore, we present a new solution for engineering modeling tools that accounts for the effect of such changes on the propagation of cluster wakes. The mesoscale wind direction changes relevant to the operation of wind farm clusters in the German Bight are found to exceed 11∘ in 50 % of all cases. Particularly in the lower partial load range, which is associated with strong wake formation, the wind direction changes are the most pronounced, with quartiles reaching up to 20∘. Especially on a horizontal scale of several tens of kilometers to 100 km, wind direction changes are relevant. Both the temporal and spatial scales at which large wind direction changes occur depend on the presence of synoptic pressure systems. Furthermore, atmospheric conditions which promote far-reaching wakes were found to align with a strong turning in 14.6 % of the cases. In order to capture these mesoscale wind direction changes in engineering model tools, a wake propagation model was implemented in the Fraunhofer IWES wind farm and wake modeling software flappy (Farm Layout Program in Python). The propagation model derives streamlines from the horizontal velocity field and forces the single turbine wakes along these streamlines. This model has been qualitatively evaluated by simulating the flow around wind farm clusters in the German Bight with data from the mesoscale atlas of the NEWA and comparing the results to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements for selected situations. The comparison reveals that the flow patterns are in good agreement if the underlying mesoscale data capture the velocity field well. For such cases, the new model provides an improvement compared to the baseline approach of engineering models, which assumes a straight-line propagation of wakes. The streamline and the baseline models have been further compared in terms of their quantitative effect on the energy yield. Simulating two neighboring wind farm clusters over a time period of 10 years, it is found that there are no significant differences across the models when computing the total energy yield of both clusters. However, extracting the wake effect of one cluster on the other, the two models show a difference of about 1 %. Even greater differences are commonly observed when comparing single situations. Therefore, we claim that the model has the potential to reduce uncertainty in applications such as site assessment and short-term power forecasting.
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