Measuring the Effects of Wake Steering With Nacelle-Mounted Scanning Lidar

Jacob Silverstein, Julie Lundquist, Mithu Debnath, Eric Simley, Alex Rybchuk

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In large wind plants, wakes from upwind turbines affect downwind turbines by reducing wind speeds and increasing turbulence. Wake steering may mitigate this effect by deflecting the wakes of upwind turbines away from downwind units. Here, we characterize the impact of wakes from yawed turbines at a commercial-scale wind plant under varying atmospheric and turbine operating conditions. Six months of nacelle-based lidar measurements were collected as part of a field campaign in 2019-2020 in the northern US Great Plains to test the effectiveness of wake steering. We separate these lidar scans by atmospheric stability and turbine operating condition to summarize how yawed wind turbine wakes vary with these input parameters in the atmospheric boundary layer. We summarize the impact of wake steering on various wake characteristics including velocity deficit, wake width, and wake center as retrieved from these lidar data. Yawed wakes have significantly different centerline characteristics compared to unyawed wakes, with large regions of meander in the mid wake region. Yawed wakes are also deflected farther than unyawed wakes in less turbulent conditions with velocity deficits persisting further downstream in stable atmospheric conditions. Overall, yawed wind turbine wakes are larger and wider in lower wind speed environments, and yawed wakes are deflected farther in less turbulent conditions, suggesting that wake steering is most effective in stable atmospheric stratification.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-87776


  • atmospheric stability
  • lidar
  • wake


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