Temporal structure of aggregate power fluctuations in large-eddy simulations of extended wind-farms

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Fluctuations represent a major challenge for the incorporation of electric power from large wind-farms into power grids. Wind-farm power output fluctuates strongly in time, over various time scales. Understanding these fluctuations, especially their spatio-temporal characteristics, is particularly important for the design of backup power systems that must be readily available in conjunction with wind-farms. In this work we analyze the power fluctuations associated with the wind-input variability at scales between minutes to several hours, using large eddy simulations (LES) of extended wind-parks, interacting with the atmospheric boundary layer. LES studies enable careful control of parameters and availability of wind-velocities simultaneously across the entire wind-farm. The present study focuses on neutral atmospheric conditions and flat terrain, using actuator-disk representations of the individual wind-turbines. We consider power from various aggregates of wind-turbines such as the total average power signal, or signals from sub-averages within the wind-farm. Non-trivial correlations are observed due to the complex interactions between turbines placed downstream of each other, and they lead to noticeable spectral peaks at frequencies associated with the inter-turbine spacings when the wind-direction is completely fixed. In that case we observe that the frequency spectra of the total wind-farm output show a decay that follows approximately a −5/3 power-law scaling regime, qualitatively consistent with some observations made in field-scale operational wind-parks [J. Apt, “The power spectrum of power from wind-turbines,” J. Power Sources 169, 369 (2007)]. We find that these features are still observed when the wind-speed varies in magnitude. However, significant changes in the wind-direction over time tend to smooth out the observed spectral peak and reduce the extent of the observed −5/3 power-law
Original languageEnglish
Article number043102
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of renewable and sustainable energy (AIP)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-303959
  • IR-91328


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