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https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2017-33
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Research articles 28 Aug 2017

Research articles | 28 Aug 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Wind Energy Science (WES) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Large-Eddy Simulation Sensitivities to Variations of Configuration and Forcing Parameters in Canonical Boundary-Layer Flows for Wind Energy Applications

Jeffrey D. Mirocha1, Matthew J. Churchfield2, Domingo Muñoz-Esparza4,a, Raj K. Rai3, Yan Feng5, Branko Kosović9, Sue Ellen Haupt9, Barbara Brown9, Brandon L. Ennis6, Caroline Draxl2, Javier Sanz Rodrigo7, William J. Shaw3, Larry K. Berg3, Patrick J. Moriarty2, Rodman R. Linn4, Veerabhadra R. Kotamarthi5, Ramesh Balakrishnan5, Joel W. Cline8, Michael C. Robinson2,8, and Shreyas Ananthan8,b Jeffrey D. Mirocha et al.
  • 1Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, 94550, USA
  • 2National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA
  • 3Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, 99354, USA
  • 4Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, 87545, USA
  • 5Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL, 60439, USA
  • 6Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, 87185, USA
  • 7Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables, Sarriguren, Navarra, 31621E, Spain
  • 8United States Department of Energy, Wind Energy Technology Office, Washington DC, 20585, USA
  • 9National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, 80305, USA
  • acurrently at: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, 80305, USA
  • bcurrently at: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA

Abstract. The sensitivities of idealized Large-Eddy Simulations (LES) to variations of model configuration and forcing parameters on quantities of interest to wind power applications are examined. Simulated wind speed, turbulent fluxes, spectra and cospectra are assessed in relation to variations of two physical factors, geostrophic wind speed and surface roughness length, and several model configuration choices, including mesh size and grid aspect ratio, turbulence model, and numerical discretization schemes, in three different code bases. Two case studies representing nearly steady neutral and convective atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flow conditions over nearly flat and homogeneous terrain were used to force and assess idealized LES, using periodic lateral boundary conditions. Comparison with fast-response velocity measurements at five heights within the lowest 50m indicates that most model configurations performed similarly overall, with differences between observed and predicted wind speed generally smaller than measurement variability. Simulations of convective conditions produced turbulence quantities and spectra that matched the observations well, while those of neutral simulations produced good predictions of stress, but smaller than observed magnitudes of turbulence kinetic energy, likely due to tower wakes influencing the measurements. While sensitivities to model configuration choices and variability in forcing can be considerable, idealized LES are shown to reliably reproduce quantities of interest to wind energy applications within the lower ABL during quasi-ideal, nearly steady neutral and convective conditions over nearly flat and homogeneous terrain.

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Jeffrey D. Mirocha et al.
Jeffrey D. Mirocha et al.
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