Demonstration of Wake Steering Through Yaw Control in a Wind Plant Field Experiment: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-16-00629

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Over the last few decades, wind energy has evolved into a large international industry involving major players in the manufacturing, construction, and utility sectors. Coinciding with the industry’s growth, significant innovation in the technology has resulted in larger turbines with lower associated costs of energy and more complex designs in all subsystems. However, as the deployment of the technology has grown and its role within the electricity sector become more prominent, so have the expectations of the technology in terms of performance, reliability, and cost. The industry currently partitions its efforts into separate paths for turbine design, plant design and development, finance, grid interaction and operation, mitigation of adverse community and environmental impacts, and other areas. One prominent area where this partition is evident is in wind turbine control. Traditionally, each wind turbine in a wind plant has been controlled separately – via its own internal controller using only its own sensors. However, wind turbines in a plant interact with each other through the plant-level fluid dynamics. Wake losses (due to upstream turbines extracting energy from the winds and “waking” downstream turbines) can be up to 10% or even 20% of the gross energy production (if each turbine experienced the free stream wind inflow to the plant). A series of studies and experiments have demonstrated that there is potential for improving energy output at existing plants through plant control methods which seek to optimize total wind plant energy production over the current “greedy” approach where each turbine maximizes its own production. Wake steering induced by yaw offsets (turning the turbine to be out of the plane perpendicular to wind inflow) for upstream turbines has shown significant promise in simulations and wind tunnel experiments. In simulation studies, annual energy production has been shown to increase by 2% or more depending on the particular aspects of the wind plant (turbine spacing, meteorological conditions, etc). This project seeks to demonstrate the potential of plant-level controls via wake steering at a commercial wind plant. This is an important step towards commercialization and industry adoption of this plant-level modeling and analysis capability.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-80492


  • field experiment
  • wake interaction
  • wake steering
  • wind plant
  • wind turbine wakes


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