Type: Joint Research Project, Romanian-Swiss Research Programme (2013-2015).
Fund: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and UEFISCDI.
One of the main sources of uncertainty during the design and operation of wind energy projects is associated with our current limited ability to predict wind and turbulence at spatial and temporal scales relevant to wind turbine operation, particularly over complex terrain. Many mountainous regions with high wind energy potential are characterized by multi-scale variability of land surface properties (topography and vegetation cover), which strongly affects the spatial distribution of wind and turbulence and, in turn, wind-turbine performance. Despite the recent efforts to develop high-resolution eddy-resolving flow simulation techniques such as Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) for assessing wind energy projects, their application to mountainous regions is still in its infancy. In order to be effective, LES needs to be properly coupled with high-resolution information of the relevant land surface properties, namely topography, aerodynamic surface roughness, and vegetation structure of tall canopies. This information could potentially be obtained using the latest advances in wavelet-based multi-resolution digital terrain modeling and vegetation modeling.
The proposed research aims at developing and assessing a framework that integrates terrain and vegetation modeling concepts and tools in support of accurate wind modeling for wind energy applications over complex terrain. To achieve this, we propose a multidisciplinary approach that consists of coupling the following main modeling elements: a new-generation tuning-free Large-Eddy Simulation technique for high-resolution predictions of wind and turbulence over complex terrain, with and without wind farms; very high resolution Digital Elevation Models linked with novel, wavelet-based generalization and filtering techniques to provide description of the surface properties at the relevant scales; and landscape and vegetation models to predict the potential feedbacks between atmospheric boundary layer processes, as affected by the wind farms, and vegetation patterns. The resulting modeling framework will be applied to two case study areas for which high resolution terrain data will be available: one in the Swiss Jura region, and the other in the Romanian Carpathians.