When turbines are placed behind each other, the upstream turbine still produces 100% power, but the capacity of the downstream turbines can be reduced by up to 60%.
The wake effects caused by turbulence can also increase the load on the turbines by as much as 15%, meaning that maintenance costs can be higher. As such, the centre claims that its technology could help to reduce maintenance costs by 3%.
ECN first used digital simulation tools to test the principle of the technology and then carried out a trial with five 2.5MW Nordex turbines in the Netherlands. The research institute said that it now plans to test the system on a larger scale.
"The next step is a large wind farm, preferably offshore. That is not a place where you want to experiment, which is why we have waited until the technique had proven itself," said Haico Van der Heijden.