A Stochastic Wind Turbine Wake Model Based on New Metrics for Wake Characterization

Paula Doubrawa, Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Hui Wang, Matthew J. Churchfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus Citations


Understanding the detailed dynamics of wind turbine wakes is critical to predicting the performance and maximizing the efficiency of wind farms. This knowledge requires atmospheric data at a high spatial and temporal resolution, which are not easily obtained from direct measurements. Therefore, research is often based on numerical models, which vary in fidelity and computational cost. The simplest models produce axisymmetric wakes and are only valid beyond the near wake. Higher-fidelity results can be obtained by solving the filtered Navier–Stokes equations at a resolution that is sufficient to resolve the relevant turbulence scales. This work addresses the gap between these two extremes by proposing a stochastic model that produces an unsteady asymmetric wake. The model is developed based on a large-eddy simulation (LES) of an offshore wind farm. Because there are several ways of characterizing wakes, the first part of this work explores different approaches to defining global wake characteristics. From these, a model is developed that captures essential features of a LES-generated wake at a small fraction of the cost. The synthetic wake successfully reproduces the mean characteristics of the original LES wake, including its area and stretching patterns, and statistics of the mean azimuthal radius. The mean and standard deviation of the wake width and height are also reproduced. This preliminary study focuses on reproducing the wake shape, while future work will incorporate velocity deficit and meandering, as well as different stability scenarios.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)449-463
Number of pages15
JournalWind Energy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-66352


  • large-eddy simulation
  • meandering
  • wake model
  • wind turbine wakes


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