Enabling Control Co-Design of the Next Generation of Wind Plants

Andrew Stanley, Christopher Bay, Paul Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Layout design and wake steering through wind plant control are each important and complex components in the design and operation of modern wind plants. They are currently optimized separately, but as more and more wind plants implement wake steering as their primary form of operation, there are increasing needs from industry and regulating bodies to combine the layout and control optimization in a co-design process. However, combining these two optimization problems is currently infeasible due to the excessive number of design variables and the very large solution space. In this paper we present a revolutionary method that enables the coupled optimization of wind plant layout and wake steering with no additional computational expense than a traditional layout optimization. This is accomplished through the development of a geometric relationship between turbines to find an approximate optimal yaw angle, bypassing the need for either a nested or coupled wind plant control optimization. The method we present in this paper provides a significant and immediate improvement to wind plant design by enabling the co-design of turbine layout and yaw control for wake steering. A small co-designed plant shown in this paper produces 0.8% more energy than its sequentially designed counterpart, and we expect larger comparative gains for larger plants with more turbines. This additional energy production comes with no additional infrastructure, turbine hardware, or control software; it is a free consequence of optimizing the turbine layout and yaw control together, resulting in millions of dollars of additional revenue for the wind plants of the future.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
JournalWind Energy Science Discussions
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-87857 for final paper as published in Wind Energy Science

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-85071


  • controls
  • layout optimization
  • optimization
  • wake steering
  • wind farm design


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