Published 14 May 2020

TotalControl is a four-year, £4.3m Horizon 2020 project aimed at maximising the power output and extending the lifetime of a wind turbine using smart controllers.

As wind flows through wind turbines, it creates wakes which can affect the power output of surrounding turbines in the wind farm. The project seeks to develop a better understanding of how controlling these wakes can impact on power output and will combine individual optimal control of the turbines with an entire wind farm collaborative approach, while also considering grid operator demands.

The overall aim of the project is to increase the total power captured by wind farms, as well as potentially reducing turbine loads, thereby increasing their operating lifetime. The project will determine whether controlling the turbine’s alignment in relation to the wind direction will positively impact the power output of the surrounding turbines due to the effect of the wake. Ultimately, by optimising the power production and lifetime of the entire wind farm, it will reduce the overall cost of energy.

With traditional wind farm control design, the same adjustments to turbine alignment are made to every turbine in the wind farm at the same time. TotalControl will develop an online operational control that will manage the way individual turbines are operating based on their own wind speed, direction and loads, before calculating how this affects the wind farm power output as a whole.

The wind farm controller will also make use of current market information, such as energy prices and demand for ancillary services, as well as information about the state of individual turbines, including the current operational state and maintenance requirements, to ultimately reduce the levelised cost of energy.

ORE Catapult Support

ORE Catapult is part of a consortium of eight partners from across Europe, contributing different skills and expertise to the project:

Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine | ORE Catapult | SME Technology Testing & Validation


Here at the Catapult, we are providing access to our Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (LDT) to validate that the controller – developed by other partners in the consortium – will help optimise the power captured by the entire wind farm and increase the lifetime of the turbines. Using the LDT will provide a greater understanding of the effects of different control strategies on the power outputs and loading on the turbine so that we can apply findings to a large-scale operational wind farm.

Two lidars have been installed at the top of the turbine, one facing forward to measure the wind flow approaching the turbine and the other facing to the rear to measure the wake after the wind moves through the blades. These lidars have been put in place to better understand how the wake effects of controlling the turbine and blade alignments will impact the energy production of surrounding wind turbines.

Additionally, using some of our load sensors in the Levenmouth blade and tower, we can measure the effect the alterations to the alignment will have on the load and therefore the effect it will have on the fatigue lifetime of the wind farm.

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