The influence of thunderstorm downbursts on wind turbine design
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The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 61400-1 for the design of wind turbines does not explicitly address site-specific conditions associated with anomalous atmospheric events or conditions. Examples of such off-standard atmospheric conditions include thunderstorm downbursts, hurricanes, tornadoes, low-level jets, etc. This study is focused on the simulation of thunderstorm downbursts using a deterministic-stochastic hybrid model and the prediction of wind turbine loads resulting from these simulated downburst wind fields. The wind velocity field model for thunderstorm downburst simulation is first discussed; in this model, downburst winds are generated separately from non-turbulent and turbulent parts. The non-turbulent part is based on an available analytical model (with some modifications), while the turbulent part is simulated as a stochastic process using standard turbulence power spectral density functions and coherence functions. Tower and rotor loads are generated using simulation of the aeroelastic response for models of utility-scale wind turbines. The main objective is to improve our understanding from the point of view of design so that we may begin to address transient events such as thunderstorm downbursts based on the simulations carried out in this research study. The study discusses as well the role of control systems (for blade pitch and turbine yaw), of models for representing transient turbulence characteristics, and of correlated demand and loads on multiple units in turbine arrays during thunderstorm downbursts.