Figure 1.Turbine–turbine interaction schematic with wakes denoted by white helices and white fog.
SWiFT: Innovating the Future of Wind Farm Performance
It is well known that large amounts of wind energy are not effectively harvested in large wind farms because the turbines “shadow” each other and reduce the output of the turbines located in their wake. The wakes also produce increased turbulence and uneven loading on the shadowed turbines, increasing fatigue issues that eventually affect a wind farm’s longevity and reliability.
Read more about SWiFT, Scaled Wind Farm Technology Facility 1.6 MB.
SWiFT Facility Commissioning
As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy that develops every available source of American energy, the U.S. Department of Energy, Vestas Wind Systems, Sandia National Laboratories, and Texas Tech University have partnered to break ground on a new state-of-the-art wind turbine test facility in Lubbock, Texas. The Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility is the first public facility of its kind in the world to use multiple wind turbines to measure how wind turbine wakes interact with one another in a wind farm.
The SWIFT facility has advanced testing and monitoring capabilities, as well as space for up to ten wind turbines, allowing researchers to examine how larger wind farms can become more productive and collaborative. The facility, which will host both open-source and proprietary research, is the result of a partnership between the Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, the Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, global wind market leader Vestas, and Group NIRE.
Rotor on ground ready to be lifted including Sandia’s telemetric rotor instrumentation.
Test-Bed Wind Turbines Allow Facility Flexibility While Providing Reliable Data in Many Regimes
SWiFT will initially consist of three research-scale wind turbines (modified Vestas V27s) with the first two turbines spaced three diameters apart, perpendicular to the oncoming wind, and the third turbine five diameters downwind. (The turbines form a 3-, 5-, and 6-rotor-diameter-length triangle.) The site has been prepared to add seven additional research-scale wind turbines in the future. The V27 turbine was chosen as the test bed due to its proven history of high reliability. It will be capable of full variable-speed variable-pitch operation with rotational speeds ranging from 0–55 rpm, rotor blades of 9–15 meter lengths, and a maximum power rating of 300 kW.
The SWiFT Facility can support all manner of collaborative and fully proprietary projects. Collaborative projects which align with and expand currently funded research activities can be facilitated through Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). Projects in which the complete intellectual property must be protected or are in a completely new R&D thrust can be arranged through Work For Others (WFO) agreements. In these projects, the facility serves a completely contracted and independent role.
SWiFT can also support highly sensitive proprietary R&D through policies and procedures established by Sandia’s national security expertise. Turbines and anemometer towers can be set up on isolated communication intranets to fully protect all data and results. Private offices can be provided in the control building to host proprietary computers and information technology. Access restrictions at the surrounding facility, around the turbines, and within the assembly building can be set to afford protections during experiment setup and tear down.
The current interest areas for research at SWiFT are
- Wake energy loss
- Wake-induced loads
- Advanced rotor development
- Turbine control in wind farms
- Advanced sensing
View a presentation about the SWiFT facility.
If you are interested in learning more about the research or the facilities, feel free to contact the DOE/SNL SWiFT Facility Lead: