Turbine Inflow Characterization at the National Wind Technology Center: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Utility-scale wind turbines operate in dynamic flows that can vary significantly over timescales from less than a second to several years. To better understand the inflow to utility-scale turbines, two inflow towers were installed and commissioned at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado, in 2011. These towers are 135 m tall andinstrumented with a combination of sonic anemometers, cup anemometers, wind vanes, and temperature measurements to characterize the inflow wind speed and direction, turbulence, stability and thermal stratification to two utility-scale turbines. Herein, we present variations in mean and turbulent wind parameters with height, atmospheric stability, and as a function of wind direction that could beimportant for turbine operation as well as persistence of turbine wakes. Wind speed, turbulence intensity, and dissipation are all factors that affect turbine performance. Our results shown that these all vary with height across the rotor disk, demonstrating the importance of measuring atmospheric conditions that influence wind turbine performance at multiple heights in the rotor disk, ratherthan relying on extrapolation from lower levels.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2012
Event50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting - Nashville, Tennessee
Duration: 9 Jan 201212 Jan 2012


Conference50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
CityNashville, Tennessee

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-53525


  • atmospheric science
  • atmospheric stability
  • measurement methods
  • National Wind Technology Center
  • NWTC
  • power spectra
  • turbine inflow
  • turbulence
  • wind


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