Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 163, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Large-Eddy Simulation of Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Flow Through a Wind Farm Sited on Topography

  • Sina Shamsoddin
  • Fernando Porté-AgelEmail author
Research Article


Large-eddy simulation (LES) has recently been well validated and applied in the context of wind turbines over flat terrain; however, to date its accuracy has not been tested systematically in the case of turbine-wake flows over topography. Here, we investigate the wake flow in a wind farm situated on hilly terrain using LES for a case where wind-tunnel experimental data are available. To this end, first boundary-layer flow is simulated over a two-dimensional hill in order to characterize the spatial distribution of the mean velocity and the turbulence statistics. A flow simulation is then performed through a wind farm consisting of five horizontal-axis wind turbines sited over the same hill in an aligned layout. The resulting flow characteristics are compared with the former case, i.e., without wind turbines. To assess the validity of the simulations, the results are compared with the wind-tunnel measurements. It is found that LES can reproduce the flow field effectively, and, specifically, the speed-up over the hilltop and the velocity deficit and turbulence intensity enhancement induced by the turbines are well captured by the simulations. Besides, the vertical profiles of the mean velocity and turbulence intensity at different streamwise positions match well those for the experiment. In addition, another numerical experiment is carried out to show how higher (and more realistic) thrust coefficients of the turbines lead to stronger wakes and, at the same time, higher turbulence intensities.


Atmospheric boundary layer Large-eddy simulation Topography Wake flow Wind farm 



This research was supported by EOS (Energie Ouest Suisse) Holding, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (Grant SI/501337-01) and the Swiss Innovation and Technology Committee (CTI) within the context of the Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research “FURIES: Future Swiss Electrical Infrastructure”. Computing resources were provided by the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) under Project IDs s599 and s542.

Supplementary material

Online Resource 1 Animation of contours of the instantaneous streamwise velocity component in the vertical midplane of the domain in the case without the turbines (14112 KB)

Online Resource 2 Animation of contours of the instantaneous streamwise velocity component in the vertical midplane of the domain in the case with turbines of high \(C_T\) (14366 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wind Engineering and Renewable Energy Laboratory (WIRE)École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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