Analytical model of fully developed wind farms in conventionally neutral atmospheric boundary layers

Chao Li, Luoqin Liu*, Xiyun Lu, Richard J. A. M. Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


The wind energy industry relies on computationally efficient engineering-type models to design wind farms. Typically these models do not account for the effect of atmospheric stratification in either the boundary layer or the free atmosphere. This study proposes a new analytical model for fully developed wind-turbine arrays in conventionally neutral atmospheric boundary layers frequently encountered in nature. The model captures the effect of the free-atmosphere stratification, Coriolis force, wind farm layout and turbine operating condition on the wind farm performance. The model is developed based on the physical insight derived from large-eddy simulations. We demonstrate that the geostrophic drag law (GDL) for flow over flat terrain can be extended to flow over fully developed wind farm arrays. The presence of a vast wind farm significantly increases the wind farm friction velocity compared with flow over flat terrain, which is modelled by updated coefficients in the GDL. The developed model reliably captures the vertical wind speed profile inside the wind farm. Furthermore, the power production trends observed in simulations are reliably reproduced. The wind farm performance, normalized by the geostrophic wind speed, decreases as the free-atmosphere thermal stability increases or the Coriolis force decreases. In addition, we find that the optimal wind farm performance is obtained at a lower thrust coefficient than the Betz limit, which indicates that optimal operating conditions for turbines in a wind farm are different than for a single turbine.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA43
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date14 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022


  • atmospheric flows
  • turbulent boundary layers
  • wakes
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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