Wake Steering: a Swarm Application

WindESCo Swarm™ is the world’s first commercially available, patented, solution for autonomous, cooperative control of wind assets.


Taking cues from nature, and the intuitive decision-making of birds in flight, WindESCo Swarm is set to unlock millions of dollars for wind asset owners by enabling turbines to cooperatively adjust positioning to boost production for the entire farm – not just single machines – by 3-5% annually.  For a typical 1GW wind plant, this would translate to an increase of $20 million (€17 million) over a five year period.

WindESCo Swarm offers multiple value propositions, which combined increase Annual Energy Production (AEP) between 3 - 5% at a wind plant level. Below, you will learn about wake steering, one of the applications developed by the WindESCo team to achieve swarming at wind plants. 

Wake Steering

Wind plants lose anywhere between 5 and 20% of their output to wakes. Wake steering is one strategy for mitigating wake losses to increase the overall plant production. In wake steering, the yaw position of upwind turbines is modified so the yaw orientation is no longer aligned directly into the wind.

As a result, the wind turbine wakes can be deflected, or steered, away from the inflow of neighboring downstream turbines. This exposes these turbines, enhancing inflow conditions defined by higher velocities and reduced turbulence. Although the upwind turbines employing wake steering will produce slightly less power, the wind plant as a whole will generate additional power, yielding enhanced site AEP.

Despite wake steering providing the potential for improved power production, the benefits of wake steering will be heavily site dependent. The AEP benefit of wake steering will mainly depend on the site layout, wind and atmospheric turbulence conditions, and the turbine model. WindESCo has performed an extensive number of wake steering AEP benefit assessments using site-calibrated models and has found that the AEP gains from wake steering can range anywhere from sub 1% to greater than 2% as noted in the table below. 

 

Site A

Site B

Site C

Site D

OEM

GE

Multiple

Suzlon

Siemens

Capacity

145 MW

300 MW

32 MW

90 MW

Estimated Annual Benefits

2.0 % 

$684,000

2.5 % 

$820,000

0.7 % 

$22,535

0.9 %

$99,959

While these gains are significant, they are not the AEP improvements the market is striving for. However, when paired with other Swarm Applications, the WindESCo Swarm system can deliver a 3-5% improvement in site-wide AEP without negatively impacting the lifetime of assets.  

To learn more, visit the Swarm web page or contact us.