Stability impact on wake development in moderately complex terrain

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This paper uses a year of SCADA data from Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow to investigate wind turbine wake development in moderately complex terrain. Atmospheric stability measurements in terms of Richardson number from a met mast at an adjoining site have been obtained and used to assess the impact of stability on wake development. Considerable filtering of these data has been undertaken to ensure that all turbines are working normally and are well aligned with the wind direction. A group of six wind turbines, more or less in a line, have been selected for analysis, and winds within a 2 degree direction sector about this line are used to ensure, as far as possible, that all the turbines investigated are fully immersed in the wake/s of the upstream turbine/s. Results show how the terrain effects combine with the wake effects, with both being of comparable importance for the site in question. Comparison has been made with results from two commercial CFD codes for neutral stability, and reasonable agreement is demonstrated. Richardson number has been plotted against wind shear and turbulence intensity at a met mast on the wind farm that for the selected wind direction is not in the wake of any turbines. Good correlations are found indicating that the Richardson numbers obtained are reliable. The filtered data used for wake analysis were split according to Richardson number into two groups representing slightly stable to neutral, and unstable conditions. Very little difference in wake development is apparent. A greater difference can be observed when the data are separated simply by turbulence intensity, suggesting that, although turbulence intensity is correlated with stability, of the two it is the parameter that most directly impacts on wake development through mixing of ambient and wake flows.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 May 2017


  • wind turbines
  • wakes
  • validation
  • complex terrain
  • Whitelee Wind Farm
  • renewable energy


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