3D Volumetric Analysis of Wind Turbine Wake Properties in the Atmosphere Using High-Resolution Doppler Lidar

Julie Lundquist, Robert Banta, Yelena Pichugina, W. Brewer, Neil Kelley, Scott Sandberg, Raul Alvarez II, R. Hardesty, Ann Weickmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wind turbine wakes in the atmosphere are three-dimensional (3D) and time dependent. An important question is how best to measure atmospheric wake properties, both for characterizing these properties observationally and for verification of numerical, conceptual, and physical (e.g., wind tunnel) models of wakes. Here a scanning, pulsed, coherent Doppler lidar is used to sample a turbine wake using 3D volume scan patterns that envelop the wake and simultaneously measure the inflow profile. The volume data are analyzed for quantities of interest, such as peak velocity deficit, downwind variability of the deficit, and downwind extent of the wake, in a manner that preserves the measured data. For the case study presented here, in which the wake was well defined in the lidar data, peak deficits of up to 80% were measured 0.6-2 rotor diameters (D) downwind of the turbine, and the wakes extended more than 11D downwind. Temporal wake variability over periods of minutes and the effects of atmospheric gusts and lulls in the inflow are demonstrated in the analysis. Lidar scanning trade-offs important to ensuring that the wake quantities of interest are adequately sampled by the scan pattern, including scan coverage, number of scans per volume, data resolution, and scan-cycle repeat interval, are discussed.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)904-614
Number of pages291
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-68356


  • experimental design
  • field experiments
  • lidar observations
  • lidars
  • renewable energy


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