A Large-Eddy Simulation-Based Assessment of the Risk of Wind Turbine Failures Due to Terrain -Induced Turbulence over a Wind Farim inComplex Terrain

Takanori Uchida, Susumu Takakuwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first part of the present study investigated the relationship among the number of yaw gear and motor failures and turbulence intensity (TI) at all the wind turbines under investigation with the use of in situ data. The investigation revealed that wind turbine #7 (T7), which experienced a large number of failures, was affected by terrain-induced turbulence with TI that exceeded the TI presumed for the wind turbine design class to which T7 belongs. Subsequently, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation was performed to examine if the abovementioned observed wind flow characteristics could be successfully simulated. The CFD software package that was used in the present study was RIAM-COMPACT, which was developed by the first author of the present paper. RIAM-COMPACT is a nonlinear, unsteady wind prediction model that uses large-eddy simulation (LES) for the turbulence model. RIAM-COMPACT is capable of simulating flow collision, separation, and reattachment and also various unsteady turbulence–eddy phenomena that are caused by flow collision, separation, and reattachment. A close examination of computer animations of the streamwise (x) wind velocity revealed the following findings: As we predicted, wind flow that was separated from a micro-topographical feature (micro-scale terrain undulations) upstream of T7 generated large vortices. These vortices were shed downstream in a nearly periodic manner, which in turn generated terrain-induced turbulence, affecting T7 directly. Finally, the temporal change of the streamwise (x) wind velocity (a non-dimensional quantity) at the hub-height of T7 in the period from 600 to 800 in non-dimensional time was re-scaled in such a way that the average value of the streamwise (x) wind velocity for this period was 8.0 m/s, and the results of the analysis of the re-scaled data were discussed. With the re-scaled full-scale streamwise wind velocity (m/s) data (total number of data points: approximately 50,000; time interval: 0.3 s), the time-averaged streamwise (x) wind velocity and TI were evaluated using a common statistical processing procedure adopted for in situ data. Specifically, 10-min moving averaging (number of sample data points: 1932) was performed on the re-scaled data. Comparisons of the evaluated TI values to the TI values from the normal turbulence model in IEC61400-1 Ed.3 (2005) revealed the following: Although the evaluated TI values were not as large as those observed in situ, some of the evaluated TI values exceeded the values for turbulence class A, suggesting that the influence of terrain-induced turbulence on the wind turbine was well simulated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1925-1-1925-19
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2019


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