Wind Energy Instrumentation Atlas

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The US Department of Energy (DOE) A2e program is focused on developing the next generation of predictive tools to better understand wind plant performance and help industry lower the overall cost of energy. A formal verification and validation process is required to demonstrate improved accuracy of these new models beyond those currently employed. And a critical part of model validation is utilization of a diverse set of accurate observations of atmospheric forcing and wind plant response. A number of existing data sets that will be used for this purpose, as highlighted by Schreck and Maniaci (2017) but A2e researchers also realize that new datasets will be required to meet validation objectives. As such, plans for new experiments based on model validation priorities (NALU validation plan, 2017) are currently being developed. This document is intended to serve as a reference to experimental study planners that describes the capability, accuracy and resolution of existing and developing measurement technologies to observe quantities of interest for wind plant model validation. Such systems can be broken into two major categories: those that measure the flow field and surrounding atmosphere around and within a wind plant and those that measure the turbine response within the wind plant. The A2e validation team will use this catalogue of instrument capability in conjunction with the validation plan, to choose the optimal set of instruments to be deployed, inform instrument placement and operation and estimate the types of validation that may be gathered through new field campaigns. Where existing instrumentation is deficient, the document will also help guide DOE towards potential areas where instrumentation development is required to meet validation objectives and A2e technology development funding may be required. The domain of interest is the wind plant microscale, within and surrounding a single wind plant, typically, tens of kilometers on a side in horizontal directions and to the top of the atmospheric boundary layer (about 1km) in the vertical. Some observations of dominant mesoscale forcing phenomena are required, with the highest resolution measurements occurring in the wind turbine wakes and on the turbines themselves. The simulation tools to be validated are mesoscale driven large-eddy simulations of the atmosphere with full aeroelastic response of individual turbines within the plant. Use cases vary slightly among tool users, but should focus on the primary end customers of the simulations and research insights, which would be turbine manufacturers, wind plant developers and owners. Broadly speaking their interests are maximizing energy output, while maintaining turbine reliability and lifetime.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages75
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-68986


  • atmosphere to electrons
  • modeling
  • planning
  • references
  • wind energy


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