Wake control system could improve output

NETHERLANDS: The Energy Research Centre Netherlands (ECN) has developed a wake-control system that it claims could increase wind farm energy production by as much as 5%.

A now famous image demonstrating how wake can affect turbines in lines
A now famous image demonstrating how wake can affect turbines in lines
By adjusting the pitch and yaw angle of a turbine at the head of a line, the technology aims to reduce the negative effects of the turbulence suffered by turbines further down the line.

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. 

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