Validation of Wind Power Plant Modeling Approaches in Complex Terrain: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The effect of terrain on wind-plant aerodynamics is often neglected due to the complex dynamics that make up terrain-atmosphere-turbine interactions and the computational effort required to adequately resolve the relevant physics. In this work, a comprehensive set of measurements (from the Wind Forecast Improvement Project 2) and two distinct modeling approaches are used to investigate the effects of topography on plant performance. The first approach consists of high-fidelity large-eddy simulations conducted for a one- hour period on a terrain-resolving mesh, and producing unsteady, heterogeneous flow that is sensitive to the local topography. The second approach makes use of a steady-state engineering model that has been modified to account for terrain effects. In situ and remote- sensing measurements upstream of the wind plant are used to prescribe initial and boundary conditions to the models, while wind turbine power measurements are used to assess the ability of the different models to capture the effects of terrain on turbine wake dynamics and therefore power production. The full paper will quantify the degree to which our high-fidelity and engineering models are able to capture realistic wind plant aerodynamics in complex terrain, and through improved understanding of the underlying physics, inform our model development efforts.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2019
EventAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum - San Diego, California
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum
CitySan Diego, California

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-74500 for paper as published in AIAA proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-72706


  • modeling
  • terrain
  • terrain-atmosphere-turbine interactions
  • wind plant


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