The European project CL-Windcon (Closed Loop Wind Farm Control), which is coordinated by CENER (National Renewable Energy Center of Spain), has already been running for one year since its launch. Recently, the Technical University of Delft has hosted the 2nd General Meeting of the project with the attendance of representatives from the 14 partners participating in the project consortium.

CL-Windcon is funded by the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 of the European Union (agreement nº 727477) and will last until October of 2019.

The project proposes a new way of approaching the design and operation of a wind farm, based on the wind farm closed loop control paradigm. The challenge is to achieve an increase in energy production and efficiency, while reducing its uncertainty and the cost of energy, for both existing and new wind farms.

In this way, it is expected to contribute to the policies of the European Union that face scenarios such as energy efficiency, decarbonisation, climate change or the promotion of industries with high innovation potential that create skilled jobs.

At the meeting held in Delft, the main technical advances of the project were showcased:

– Regarding the development of models oriented to the control of wind farms, reference wind farms and simulation scenarios have already been defined with the SOWFA high-fidelity tool. Likewise, the common pre- and post-processing framework has been established to compare results with the different engineering tools under development.

– On the wind farm control technologies and algorithms, a wind turbine controller has been developed with additional features to adapt to the wind farm controller. It will be available to the community in open source.

– Also, within the work package oriented to the demonstration and validation of prototypes, the specifications of the wind tunnel tests have been prepared and the first two campaigns have been executed. As for the experiments in the wind farm, progress has been made in their preparation through the collection of technical data, the specification of the instrumentation and preliminary planning.

Next steps of the project will be focused on the description and classification of the engineering models of the wind farm, the progress of the simulations and the demonstration tests, and the launch of technology feasibility tasks. Third General Meeting will be held in April 2018 in Pamplona (Spain), where partners will present the new developments.

CL-Windcon first Wind Tunnel Test campaigns

In June and October 2017 the CL-Windcon consortium has conducted the first two test campaigns in the wind tunnel. These testing aimed at characterizing in detail the interaction of multiple wakes shed by two/three wind turbine models provided by the Technical University of Munich. These tests have been conducted in the boundary layer test section of the Politecnico di Milano wind tunnel, where two different boundary layers have been simulated, one being representative of an on-shore condition, and the second of an off-shore one. In these tests out- and in-wake flow characterization have been performed allowing for different yaw misalignment angles and different turbine power set-points.

Illustration by Josh Bauer, NREL

NREL report examines future of wind power plants

A report recently released by NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy examines the wind power plants of the future and determines that new energy science and technological innovation could cut the cost of wind energy in half by 2030, making it fully competitive with other energy sources such as natural gas.


Reduction of uncertainty through high-fidelity physics models of complex flows with application of supercomputing and data science, a systems engineering approach over the multiple length and time scales involved, and integrated real-time plant sensing and control will play a major role on these so-called SMART (“System Management of Atmospheric Resource through Technology”) wind power plants.


Learn more in:

CL-Windcon website

We are working on the development of the website of the project together with our European partners.

Kick off meeting

On 22 and 23 November, it took place in Pamplona the first meeting of the European project CL-Windcon (Closed Loop Wind Farm Control), coordinated by technicians from the Wind Energy Department of CENER (National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain).

The project sets out a new way of designing and operating wind farms, shedding light on the closed-loop control paradigm. It deals with the uncertainties at farm level, and ultimately seeks the increase of power output and the reduction of the uncertainty corresponding to such power output.

The main challenge for CL-Windcon is to carry out the advanced control of large wind turbines and wind farms on a global scale, simultaneously improving the efficiency and reducing the cost of energy. Another challenge consists in the application of the new solutions developed within the project to existing and newly-designed farms.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727477, 14 partners from 6 countries participate in, and it will have a duration of 36 months, coming to an end in October 2019.

The expected outcomes of this project are ambitious: a reduction of the levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of 10%, achieved through an increase in the wind farm energy production by 4-5%, a reduction of O&M costs by 4%, a lifetime extension of 1%, and a material cost reduction for turbine components by 3-4%. CL-Windcon will also include a comprehensive analysis of economic and environmental impact of the technical improvements resulting from the project, as well as standards review for future wind turbine and farms design.

Current practice in wind turbines operation is that every turbine has its own controller that optimizes its own performance in terms of energy capture and loading. This way of operating wind farms means that each wind turbine operates based only on the available information on its own measurements. This gets the wind farm to operate in a non-optimum way, since wind turbines are not operating as players of a major system.

In order to achieve its goals, CL-Windcon will address advanced modeling, open- and closed-loop control algorithms at a farm level by treating the entire wind farm as a comprehensive real-time optimization problem. New innovation solutions will be provided to the wind energy sector on the basis of advanced control and optimization strategies. This will be possible thanks to the development of appropriate dynamic tools for wind farm simulation at a reasonable computational effort.

Validation of the models and the control algorithms will be performed by fully detailed simulations, wind tunnel tests and field testing on a real wind farm. The tools for wind farm dynamic modelling will be fully open source at the end of the project.
The partners of the project are, by countries: General Electric, Ramboll, University of Stuttgart, Technical University of Munich and UL International GMBH / DEWI (Germany); Enel Green Power and Politecnico di Milano (Italy); Aalborg University (Denmark); Delft University of Technology and the Energy Research Centre-ECN (The Netherlands), Garrad Hassan (United Kingdom), and in the case of Spain, Ikerlan-IK4, Qi Europe, and CENER as project coordinator.