Linear and nonlinear models in wind resource assessment and wind turbine micro-siting in complex terrain
The current trend of increasing the electricity production from wind energy has led to the installation of wind farms in areas of greater orographic complexity, raising doubts on the use of simple, linear, mathematical models of the fluid flow equations, so common in the wind energy engineering. The present study shows how conventional techniques, linear models and cup anemometers, can be combined with flow simulation by computational fluid dynamics techniques (nonlinear models) and measurements by sonic anemometers, and discuss their relative merits in the characterisation of the wind over a coastal region—a cliff over the sea. The computational fluid dynamic techniques were particularly useful, providing a global view of the wind flow over the cliff and enabling the identification of separated flow regions, clearly unsuitable for installation of wind turbines. These locations display a pulsating flow, with periods between 1 and 7 min, in agreement with sonic anemometer measurements, and both a turbulence intensity and a gust factor well above the wind turbine design conditions.