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Improving mesoscale wind speed forecasts using LiDAR-based observation nudging for Airborne Wind Energy Systems

: Sommerfeld, M.; Dörenkämper, M.; Steinfeld, G.; Crawford, C.

Fulltext ()

Wind energy science : WES 4 (2019), No.4, pp.563-580
ISSN: 2366-7443
ISSN: 2366-7451
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWES ()

Airborne wind energy systems (AWESs) aim to operate at altitudes above conventional wind turbines where reliable high-resolution wind data are scarce. Wind light detection and ranging (lidar) measurements and mesoscale models both have their advantages and disadvantages when assessing the wind resource at such heights. This study investigates whether assimilating measurements into the mesoscale Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model using observation nudging generates a more accurate, complete data set. The impact of continuous observation nudging at multiple altitudes on simulated wind conditions is compared to an unnudged reference run and to the lidar measurements themselves. We compare the impact on wind speed and direction for individual days, average diurnal variability and long-term statistics. Finally, wind speed data are used to estimate the optimal traction power and operating altitudes of AWES. Observation nudging improves the WRF accuracy at the measurement location. Close to the surface the impact of nudging is limited as effects of the air–surface interaction dominate but becomes more prominent at mid-altitudes and decreases towards high altitudes. The wind speed frequency distribution shows a multi-modality caused by changing atmospheric stability conditions. Therefore, wind speed profiles are categorized into various stability conditions. Based on a simplified AWES model, the most probable optimal altitude is between 200 and 600 m. This wide range of heights emphasizes the benefit of such systems to dynamically adjust their operating altitude.