A key challenge to wide-scale deployment of wind energy in the utility grid without subsidies is predicting and minimizing plant-level energy losses—which are currently estimated to be 20% in relatively flat areas, and much higher in regions of complex terrain. Current HPC simulation tools and methods for modeling wind plant performance fall far short due to insufficient model fidelity and inadequate treatment of key phenomena, combined with a lack of computational power necessary to address the wide range of relevant length scales associated with wind plants.
In the Exascale Predictive Wind Plant Flow Physics Modeling project, also referred to as ExaWind, NREL is leading the development of an exascale modeling and simulation capability (coupled fluid and structural mechanics) to understand the fundamental multiphysics, multiscale flow phenomena in large wind plants, including complex terrain. NREL and partners have created a new blade-resolved model of a large modern wind turbine, enabling scientists and engineers to begin understanding the complex flow physics in multi-turbine wind farms that will take advantage of future exascale modeling and simulation capability.
ExaWind will result in advancements in the development of a next-generation wind farm simulation capability and the understanding of how the capability can answer important science questions challenging the wind energy community. It will also ensure new wind farm simulation code scales well on today’s petascale systems and is well positioned to utilize first-generation U.S. exascale systems.