Conservation Matters August 2013

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Texas Tech researchers to study wind farm wakes

Texas Tech researchers to study wind farm wakes

Wind farms may be operating at less than their potential, according to researchers at Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute (NWI).

In a two-fold study, Dr. Brian Hirth, Texas Tech research professor, and Dr. John Schroeder, NWI director, will use a National Science Foundation grant to work with wind farm operators in the Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and southwest Kansas region to study wind flows through various wind farms.

In addition to power, turbines also produce wake. The disturbance, while invisible to the naked eye, interferes with the atmosphere downstream. These turbine-to-turbine interactions along with other wind farm complex wind flows are poorly documented, according to researchers. Currently, there is a shortage of real-time wind data fed into farm control systems, and individual turbines are limited in their response to rapidly changing wind conditions. The result can be damage to the turbines and a decrease in overall wind farm efficiency.

The study will utilize both TTU radars, with the study to last three years, Schroeder said. Hirth said the radar measurements will provide accurate and timely wind maps which can be used in real time to transform how wind farms operate to ultimately improve their performance.

For more information, read the full Texas Tech Today article.

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