Best Practices for Wake Model and Optimization Algorithm Selection in Wind Farm Layout Optimization: Preprint

Katherine Dykes, Nicholas Baker, Andrew Stanley, Jared Thomas, Andrew Ning

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper presents the results of two case studies regarding the wind farm layout optimization problem. We asked a general audience to take part in the studies that we designed, and nine individuals participated. Case study 1 considered variations in optimization strategies for a given simple Gaussian wake model. Participants were provided with a wake model that outputs annual energy production (AEP) for an input set of wind turbine locations. Participants used an optimization method of their choosing to find an optimal wind farm layout. Case study 2 looked at trade-offs in performance resulting from variation in both physics model and optimization strategy. For case study 2, participants calculated AEP using a wake model of their choice while also implementing their chosen optimization method. Participants then used their wake model to calculate the AEP all other participant submitted turbine configurations produce for cross-comparison results. for optimized turbine locations were then cross-compared by recalculating the AEP using every other participant's wake model. Results for case study 1 show that the best optimal wind farm layouts in this study were achieved by participants who used gradient-based optimization methods. A front-runner emerged with the Sparse Nonlinear OPTimizer plus Wake Expansion Continuation (SNOPTplusWEC) optimization method, which consistently discovered a higher AEP for each scenario. Results for case study 2 show that for small wind farms with few turbines, turbine placement on the wind farm boundary is superior. Conclusions for case study 2 were drawn from participant cross-comparison of results.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2019
EventAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum - San Diego, California
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum
CitySan Diego, California

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-74480 for paper as published in AIAA proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-72935


  • algorithm selection
  • optimization
  • wake model
  • wind power plant layout


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