Energy Efficiency

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07 Aug 2023

How Wakes Impact Wind Energy Efficiency

The fast-moving wind turbine blades create wakes which can change the amount of wind energy reaching the turbines and plants downwind. Wakes may cost as much as 10 per cent of energy losses to the Wind Farms.

Wake Effect

Wake is a long trail of wind which is quite turbulent and slowed down when compared to the wind arriving in front of the turbine – an expression derived from the wake behind a ship.

In simpler terms, wind turbines create wakes, which are areas of reduced wind speed and increased turbulence downstream of the turbines. When wind turbines are placed close together in a wind farm, these wakes can interact with each other, creating even larger wakes and reducing the overall energy output of the wind farm.

The energy loss due to long wakes at wind farms is known as wake loss or wake effect. Wake loss occurs because the turbines in the downstream Wakes receive less wind energy than the turbines in the upstream Wakes. This results in reduced power output from the downstream turbines, which reduces the overall energy output of the wind farm.
To minimize wake loss, wind farms are typically designed with careful consideration of turbine place placement and spacing. Researchers and engineers are also developing new technologies, such as advanced control systems and wind farm optimization algorithms, to improve wind farm efficiency and reduce wake loss. However, the losses may even be larger than predicted. Large-scale wakes can even persist 20 miles or more and reach entirely different wind plants.


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