Sensitivity Analysis of the Effect of Wind and Wake Characteristics on Wind Turbine Loads in a Small Wind Farm

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Abstract

Wind turbines are designed using a set of simulations to determine the fatigue and ultimate loads, which are typically focused solely on unwaked wind turbine operation. These structural loads can be significantly influenced by the wind inflow conditions. Turbines experience altered inflow conditions when placed in the wake of upstream turbines, which can additionally influence the fatigue and ultimate loads. It is important to understand the impact of uncertainty on the resulting loads of both unwaked and waked turbines. The goal of this work is to assess which wind-inflow-related and wake-related parameters have the greatest influence on fatigue and ultimate loads during normal operation for turbines in a three-turbine wind farm. Twenty-eight wind inflow and wake parameters are screened using an elementary effects sensitivity analysis approach to identify the parameters that lead to the largest variation in the fatigue and ultimate loads of each turbine. This study uses the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 5 MW baseline wind turbine, simulated with OpenFAST and synthetically generated inflow based on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Kaimal turbulence spectrum with the IEC exponential coherence model using the NREL tool TurbSim. The focus is on sensitivity to individual parameters, though interactions between parameters are considered, and how sensitivity differs between waked and unwaked turbines. The results of this work show that for both waked and unwaked turbines, ambient turbulence in the primary wind direction and shear are the most sensitive parameters for turbine fatigue and ultimate loads. Secondary parameters of importance for all turbines are identified as yaw misalignment, streamwise integral length, and the exponent and streamwise components of the IEC coherence model. The tertiary parameters of importance differ between waked and unwaked turbines. Tertiary effects account for up to 9.0% of the significant events for waked turbine ultimate loads and include veer, non-streamwise components of the IEC coherence model, Reynolds stresses, wind direction, air density, and several wake calibration parameters. For fatigue loads, tertiary effects account for up to 5.4% of the significant events and include vertical turbulence standard deviation, lateral and vertical wind integral lengths, non-streamwise components of the IEC coherence model, Reynolds stresses, wind direction, and all wake calibration parameters. This information shows the increased importance of non-streamwise wind components and wake parameters in the fatigue and ultimate load sensitivity of downstream turbines.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy Science
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-83469 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-85378

Keywords

  • elementary effects
  • FAST.Farm
  • loads analysis
  • NREL 5-MW baseline wind turbine
  • OpenFAST
  • sensitivity analysis
  • TurbSim
  • uncertainty
  • wake effects
  • wind farm

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