Thesis by Pierre-Antoine Joulin*

The French long-term energy program is encouraging the growth of wind energy. In order to predict this energy production and attempt to optimize it, irrespective of the production site (sea, mountain), a better understanding of wind flow through the farm will be required. This is particularly the case for offshore wind farms that, due to their size, will interact more intensively with the atmosphere and local meteorological conditions. Consequently, characterizing these interactions, which are both multi-disciplinary (aerodynamic and meteorological) and multi-scale (from blade to atmosphere), represents a major industrial and environmental challenge.

A numerical tool dedicated to the problem was developed within the framework of this thesis, in partnership with Météo France. It makes it possible to simulate the behavior of wind turbines within a realistic atmospheric boundary layer. The software is based on the coupling of aerodynamic wind turbine models and Meso-NH, the fine mesh meteorological model developed by the CNRM (French Meteorological Research Center) and the French Aerology Laboratory. The research conducted also set out to validate the results of calculations through comparison with experimental cases)(1). The capacity to reproduce complex atmospheric conditions was recently demonstrated(2) via the cloud formation case at the Danish Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm, which had hitherto never been reproduced in such detail (figure).


A. Horns Rev farm (Vattenfall; photo: Christian Steiness)
B. Numerical simulation(2)

The highly realistic modeling associated with this new, soon-to-be open source numerical tool pushes back the boundaries of what is possible for wind farm simulation. It is already being used by IFPEN to calibrate turbine layout optimization models, as well as to study interactions between wind farms and local weather conditions.

*Thesis entitled "Small-scale modeling of the interactions between wind farms and local weather conditions"

(1) P.-A. Joulin, M.-L. Mayol, F. Blondel, V. Masson, Q. Rodier, C. Lac. (2019, July). Journal of Physics: Conference Series (Vol. 1256, No. 1, p. 012019). IOP Publishing.
DOI : 10.1088/1742-6596/1256/1/012019

(2) P.-A. Joulin, M.-L. Mayol, V. Masson, F. Blondel, Q. Rodie, M. Cathelain, C. Lac. (2020). Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, 350.
DOI : 10.3389/feart.2019.00350

Scientific contact: pierre-antoine.joulin@ifpen.fr