The importance of wake meandering on wind turbine fatigue loads in wake

Jennifer Marie Rinker*, Esperanza Soto Sagredo, Leonardo Bergami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Considering loads when optimizing wind-farm layouts or designing farm-control strategies is important, but the computational cost of using high-fidelity wake models in the loop can be prohibitively high. Using simpler models that consider only the spatial variation of turbulence statistics is a tempting alternative, but the accuracy of these models with respect to the aeroelastic response is not well understood. This paper therefore highlights the effect of replacing wake meandering with spatially varying statistics (“profile functions”) in the inflow to a downstream turbine. Profile functions at different downstream and lateral locations are extracted from a large-eddy simulation with an upstream turbine and compared with two lower-fidelity models: one that prescribes both the mean and standard deviation of the turbulence and one that prescribes only the mean. The aeroelastic response of an NREL 5 MW wind turbine is simulated with the three different wake-model fidelities, and various quantities of interest are compared. The mean values for the power and rotor speed for the medium-and low-fidelity model match well, but the accuracy of the fatigue loads varies greatly depending on the load channel. Prescribing the profile function for the standard deviation is only beneficial for the tower-base fore-aft moment; all other DELs had similar accuracies for both the medium-and low-fidelity models. The paper concludes that blade DELs can be estimated using these simple models with some accuracy, but care should be taken with the load channels related to the shaft torsion and tower-base fore-aft bending moment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7313
Issue number21
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Turbulence
  • Wind turbine loads
  • Wind turbine wakes


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