AWAKEN: The American WAKE experimeNt

The American WAKE experimeNt (AWAKEN) leverages the experience, instrumentation, and capabilities of multiple institutions to conduct the most comprehensive wind energy wake experiment to date.

Viewing Wind Farm Efficiency Losses With Eyes Wide Open

AWAKEN is an international, multi-institutional wind energy field campaign designed to answer the most pressing science questions about how individual wind turbines interact with one another and the atmosphere in a wind farm. AWAKEN will gather observational data from wind farms to validate wind power plant models and advance the industry's understanding of how a wind farm operates.

One of the major causes of wind plant underperformance is energy losses caused by turbine-to-turbine wake interactions. However, the industry models (such as FLORIS) used to predict these losses have uncertainty levels of 20%–50%. AWAKEN aims to cut the uncertainty levels of current industry tools in half—or more—by producing data that will enable wind farm models to better predict future performance and wake impacts.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office, AWAKEN is part of DOE's larger Atmosphere to Electrons effort to improve the efficiency of wind power plants. The specific objective of AWAKEN is to gather high-fidelity observations of wind turbines and power plants operating in representative atmospheric conditions and then use these data to advance the understanding of wind power plant physics.

Designing a Definitive Dataset

AWAKEN researchers have chosen a field campaign site that borders several wind farms in Oklahoma, between Ponca City and Enid, at which they will measure wind-farm-atmosphere interactions. After equipment installation is completed in 2022, researchers will collect data through 2022 and 2023. Collaborative efforts to analyze and report the data through various publications and dissemination efforts will conclude in 2024.

To map the details of air flow and turbulence around wind turbines, AWAKEN researchers will use scanning radars, lasers, and aircraft—each providing unique and complex measurements. DOE's Wind Data Archive and Portal will host the data, allowing the AWAKEN research team and worldwide collaborators to decrease annual energy production losses, validate and improve wind farm models, and optimize wind farm design.

Wind win! How air currents move through wind plants is not well understood. That's why the AWAKEN research team is using scanning radars, lasers, and aircraft to map how winds flow between and around wind turbines and provide critical data that could help developers increase their plant's revenues and energy production. Animation by Josh Bauer, NREL
Text version

Partnership Opportunities

This project involves researchers from NREL, Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

If your organization is interested in working with world-class research institutions and getting immediate access to unique wind energy data and research results, such as wind farm control validation, please contact Patrick Moriarty.


American WAKE experimeNt (AWAKEN) , Fact Sheet (2022)

American WAKE experimeNt (AWAKEN), NREL Technical Report (2020)


Patrick Moriarty

Group Manager III, Systems Engineering