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ENGIE Laborelec’s engagement in the NREL Awaken project brings research and experimentation on wind farm control to a higher level. In-depth studies have been made preparatory to a comprehensive measurement campaign carried out successfully on an ENGIE Noram wind farm in Oklahoma.

October 2023

Wake steering is a particular form of wind farm control (WFC) that involves voluntarily misaligning some turbines relative to the freestream wind in order to reduce the wake losses between turbines and, as a result, to increase the farm’s global production. By managing the control at farm level rather than wind turbine level, total production can be increased. It can also lead to better control of the wind farm’s structural integrity and through-life management. The increase in performance could be especially significant in larger wind farms.

Testing wake steering on an 88-unit ENGIE Noram wind farm

In this context, ENGIE Laborelec is engaging in the Awaken project led by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). An acronym for American WAke ExperimeNt, Awaken is a five-year international, multi-institutional field campaign designed to improve understanding of wind turbine interactions within the wind farm and with the air around it more widely. The field campaign is spread over five wind farms in Oklahoma with more than 560 GE wind turbines in total. The WFC experiment is taking place at the 88-unit ENGIE Noram King Plains farm and will be, for the present, the most extensive publicly known experiment of its kind.

Steering strategy and control configuration defined

Meanwhile, Laborelec experts have been working closely with NREL specialists to model and challenge the wake steering strategy to be used in the experiment. In addition, the control configuration has been designed to balance performance gain with structural integrity. For example, the optimum control was designed to minimize yaw travel increase compared to the normal state. The strategy and control configuration are currently being further optimized preparatory to the experiment planned to start in the first half of 2023.

Laborelec expert Ariane Frère points to the insights the project brings: “Our studies and the numerous interactions with NREL and the manufacturer GE have significantly increased our understanding of the behaviour of turbines in large wind farms.”

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