Difference in Load Predictions Obtained with Effective Turbulence vs. a Dynamic Wake Meandering Modeling Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to the international standard for wind turbine design, the effects of wind turbine wakes on structural loads can be considered in two ways: (1) by augmenting the ambient turbulence levels with the effective turbulence model (EFF) and then calculating the resulting loads and (2) by performing dynamic wake meandering (DWM) simulations, which compute wake effects and loads for all turbines on a farm at once. There is no definitive answer in scientific literature as to the consequences of choosing one model over the other, but the two approaches are unarguably very different. The work presented here expounds on these differences and investigates to what extent they affect the simulated structural loads. We consider an idealized 4x4 rectangular array of National Renewable Energy Laboratory 5 MW wind turbines with a spacing of 5 by 8 rotor diameters and three wind speed scenarios at high ambient turbulence. Load simulations are performed in OpenFAST with EFF and in FAST.Farm with the DWM implementation. We compare ambient turbulence, wind farm turbulence, and loads between both approaches. When omnidirectional results are compared, EFF wind farm turbulence intensity is consistently higher by 0.2% (above-rated wind speed) to 2.7% (below-rated wind speed). However, for certain wind directions, the EFF turbulence can be lower than FAST.Farm by almost 9%. Wind speeds within the farm were found to differ by up to 3 ms-1 due to the lack of wake deficits in the EFF approach, leading to longer tails toward low values in the FAST.Farm mean load distributions. Consistent with the turbulence results, the median EFF load standard deviations are also consistently higher, by a maximum of 20% and 17% for blade-root out-of-plane and tower-base fore-aft moments, respectively.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1475-1493
Number of pages19
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-84929 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-88150


  • dynamic wake meandering
  • effective turbulence
  • fatigue
  • wind farm turbulence
  • wind turbine design
  • wind turbine wakes


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