Variable-Speed Wind Turbine Controller Systematic Design Methodology: A Comparison of Non-Linear and Linear Model-Based Designs

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Variable-speed, horizontal axis wind turbines use blade-pitch control to meet specified objectives for three regions of operation. This paper focuses on controller design for the constant power production regime. A simple, rigid, non-linear turbine model was used to systematically perform trade-off studies between two performance metrics. Minimization of both the deviation of the rotor speed fromthe desired speed and the motion of the actuator is desired. The robust nature of the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller is illustrated, and optimal operating conditions are determined. Because numerous simulation runs may be completed in a short time, the relationship of the two opposing metrics is easily visualized. Traditional controller design generally consists of linearizinga model about an operating point. This step was taken for two different operating points, and the systematic design approach was used. A comparison of the optimal regions selected using the non-linear model and the two linear models shows similarities. The linearization point selection does, however, affect the turbine performance slightly. Exploitation of the simplicity of the model allowssurfaces consisting of operatin under a wider range of gain values to be created. This methodology provides a means of visually observing turbine performance based upon the two metrics chosen for this study. Design of a PID controller is simplilfied, and it is possible to ascertain the best possible combination of controller parameters. The wide, flat surfaces indicate that a PID controller isvery robust in this variable-speed wind turbine application.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages117
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-500-25540


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