FAST.Farm Development and Validation of Structural Load Prediction Against Large Eddy Simulations

Kelsey Shaler, Jason Jonkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


FAST.Farm is a mid-fidelity engineering tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory targeted at accurately and efficiently predicting wind turbine power production and structural loading in wind farm settings, including wake interactions between turbines. FAST.Farm is based on several principles of the dynamic wake meandering (DWM) model, but also addresses limitations of previous DWM implementations. Previous FAST.Farm studies have shown the similarities and differences between FAST.Farm and large eddy simulations for rigid turbine cases. The objective of this work is to quantify the ability of FAST.Farm to accurately predict turbine structural response in a small wind farm. This is done by comparing FAST.Farm structural response to SOWFA-OpenFAST results for three laterally-aligned turbines. The purpose of this study is to characterize the similarities and differences between FAST.Farm and a higher fidelity model for predicting turbine structural response in a wind farm for differing atmospheric inflows. Strong statistical agreement was found between FAST.Farm and SOWFA-OpenFAST structural response for the non-waked upstream turbine, and good agreement was found for the downstream turbines for most structural quantities. Higher differences were seen for downstream turbines with low ambient turbulence intensity or yawed turbines, suggesting areas for FAST.Farm wake dynamics modeling improvements. For all cases and turbines, small statistical differences were seen between blade deflections and bending moments, with larger differences for tower-top and tower-base bending moments. Overall, the results establish confidence for applying FAST.Farm to wind farm power and loads analyses and identify areas where further model validations and model improvements should be targeted.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)428-449
Number of pages22
JournalWind Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Published 2020. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. Wind Energy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-76805


  • FAST.Farm
  • turbine structural loads
  • turbine wakes
  • wind farm


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