Atmospheric Turbulence Affects Wind Turbine Nacelle Transfer Functions

Andrew Clifton, Julie Lundquist, Clara Martin, Gregory Poulos, Scott Schreck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus Citations


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 more steep 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.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
JournalWind Energy Science Discussions
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5D00-67362 for final paper as published in Wind Energy Science

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-72624


  • atmospheric stability
  • nacelle anemometry
  • nacelle transfer function
  • turbulence


Dive into the research topics of 'Atmospheric Turbulence Affects Wind Turbine Nacelle Transfer Functions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this