Quantifying Wind Plant Blockage under Stable Atmospheric Conditions

Miguel Gomez, Julie Lundquist, Jeffrey Mirocha, Robert Arthur, Domingo Munoz-Esparza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Wind plant blockage reduces the wind velocity upstream undermining turbine performance for the first row of the plant. We assess how atmospheric stability modifies the induction zone of a wind plant in flat terrain. We also explore different approaches to quantifying the magnitude and extent of the induction zone from field-like observations. To investigate the influence from atmospheric stability, we compare simulations of two stable boundary layers using the Weather Research and Forecasting model in large-eddy simulation mode, representing wind turbines using the generalized actuator disk approach. We find a faster cooling rate at the surface, which produces a stronger stably stratified boundary layer, amplifies the induction zone of both an isolated turbine and of a large wind plant. A statistical analysis on the hub-height wind speed field shows wind slowdowns only extend far upstream (up to 15D) of a wind plant in strong stable boundary layers. To evaluate different ways of measuring wind plant blockage from field-like observations, we consider various ways of estimating the freestream velocity upstream of the plant. Sampling a large area upstream is the most accurate approach to estimating the freestream conditions, and thus of measuring the blockage effect. Also, the choice of sampling method may induce errors of the same order as the velocity deficit in the induction zone.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
JournalWind Energy Science Discussions
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-80840


  • atmospheric conditions
  • wind energy
  • wind power plant


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