As the scale of wind energy installations grows and represents a greater portion of U.S. energy production, it becomes increasingly important to understand the impacts of these complex flow environments on wind turbine operations. The Scaled Wind Farm Technologies (SWiFT) facility was established to experimentally study turbine-turbine wake interactions. Many features of waked operation of a wind turbine, including reduced power and increased loads, are a function of turbine spacing and atmospheric conditions.
An analysis of the atmospheric conditions at the SWiFT site, performed using historical data from Texas Tech University’s 200m meteorological tower, can be used to inform and design experimental campaigns. The analysis provides approximate conclusions about the frequency and magnitude of atmospheric conditions important to wind energy at the SWiFT site and scale. The analysis also enables modelers to simulate the site using probable conditions prior to experimental campaigns based on which conditions are likely to occur.
The analysis summarizes bulk atmospheric conditions–such as variable averages and distributions and determination of the SWiFT turbine IEC design classification. The time dependency of atmospheric conditions at the SWiFT site is also characterized, both seasonally and throughout the day. Correlated atmospheric conditions, such as atmospheric stability and turbulence levels, are also presented from the analyzed data set, which captures the likelihood of being able to operate at combined sets of atmospheric conditions. The final report summarizing the analysis can be downloaded here, SWiFT Site Atmospheric Characterization.