The Value of Wake Steering Wind Farm Control in U.S. Energy Markets

Eric Simley, Dev Millstein, Seongeun Jeong, Paul Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Wind farm flow control represents a category of control strategies for increasing wind plant power production and/or reducing structural loads by mitigating the impact of wake interactions between wind turbines. Wake steering is a wind farm flow control technology in which specific turbines are misaligned with the wind to deflect their wakes away from downstream turbines, thus increasing overall wind plant power production. In addition to promising results from simulation studies, wake steering has been shown to successfully increase energy production through several recent field trials. However, to better understand the benefits of wind farm flow control strategies such as wake steering, the value of the additional energy to the electrical grid should be evaluated - for example, by considering the price of electricity when the additional energy is produced. In this study, we investigate the potential for wake steering to increase the value of wind plant energy production by combining model predictions of power gains using the FLOw Redirection and Induction in Steady State (FLORIS) engineering wind farm control tool with historical electricity price data for 15 existing U.S. wind plants in four different electricity market regions. Specifically, for each wind plant, we use FLORIS to estimate power gains from wake steering for a time series of hourly wind speeds and wind directions spanning the years 2018-2020, obtained from the ERA5 reanalysis data set. The modeled power gains are then correlated with hourly electricity prices for the nearest transmission node. Through this process we find that wake steering increases annual energy production (AEP) between 0.5% and 2%, depending on the wind plant, with average increases in potential annual revenue (i.e., annual value production (AVP)) 10% higher than the AEP gains. For all wind plants, AVP gain was found to exceed AEP gain. But the ratio between AVP gain and AEP gain is greater for wind plants in regions with high wind penetration because electricity prices tend to be relatively higher during periods with below-rated wind plant power production, when wake losses occur and wake steering is active; for wind plants in the Southwest Power Pool - the region with the highest wind penetration analyzed (31%) - the increase in AVP from wake steering is 21% higher than the AEP gain. Consequently, we expect the value of wake steering, and other types of wind farm flow control, to increase as wind penetration continues to grow.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
JournalWind Energy Science Discussions
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-89007 for final paper as published in Wind Energy Science

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-84891


  • electricity price
  • market value
  • wake model
  • wake steering
  • wind farm control


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