Scaled wind turbine experiments were conducted in order to evaluate the beneficial effect of closely-spaced lateral wind turbine configurations on the performance of a wind farm. Two outer wind turbines were spaced apart with a particular gap distance and the longitudinal setback of a central rotor was varied at each gap width. The turbine placement resulted in tip-to-tip separation distances that ranged from 1 diameter (D) to 0.25D. Additionally, the performance of a wind farm layout in rough and smooth boundary layers, designed to mimic onshore and offshore conditions, respectively, was evaluated. It was observed that a narrow gap between several laterally-aligned rotors creates an in-field blockage effect that results in beneficial flow acceleration through the gap. This increase in speed increases the power output of the central turbine when its longitudinal setback is between 0D and 2.5D. A cumulative increase in power output of 17% was observed when 3 rotors were aligned in a lateral plane with a blade tip separation of 0.5D or 0.25D, compared to the same number of rotors in isolation. While the benefits of closely-spaced wind turbines were observed in both of the tested boundary layers, the performance benefits with a smooth boundary layer were smaller than with a rough boundary layer. These results may lead to new wind farm design methodologies for certain topology- and wind distribution-specific sites and suggest that wind turbines can be closely-spaced in the lateral direction in order to obtain substantial increases in power.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Blockage, Lateral separation, Wakes, Wind energy, Wind turbines
Persistent URL
Journal Renewable Energy
McTavish, S. (S.), Feszty, D, & Nitzsche, F. (2013). A study of the performance benefits of closely-spaced lateral wind farm configurations. Renewable Energy, 59, 128–135. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2013.03.032