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An investigation of the impact of wind speed and turbulence on small wind turbine operation and fatigue loads

KC, Anup, Whale, Jonathan, Evans, Samuel P., Clausen, Philip D.
Renewable energy 2020 v.146 pp. 87-98
blades, landscapes, models, prediction, turbulent flow, wind power, wind speed, wind turbines
This paper investigates the operation and loading of a 5 kW HAWT using the aeroelastic code FAST. Wind data from built environment site at Port Kennedy (PK) and from a flat terrain site in Östergarnsholm (OG), are analysed and compared with IEC 61400-2. The longitudinal turbulence intensity (TIu) in the PK wind field was 22%; which was higher than the estimated value in IEC 61400-2 Normal Turbulence Model. The TI in the flat terrain (OG) was below 18% for all mean wind speeds. The selected wind conditions from the two locations were used as input in FAST simulation to investigate the performance and loading of the turbine. The elevated turbulence in PK wind fields increased the output rotor power which was more than that predicted by the standard. Similarly, PK wind field also showed higher blade root flapwise bending moment resulting into twice as much damage load on the turbine blades due to large short-term fluctuations in both wind speed and direction. This value for OG was below the standard's prediction. We observe that the current IEC standard seems inadequate for urban siting of SWTs and requires modification for more reliable deployment in turbulent sites.