The National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted an experiment to obtain detailed wind measurements and corresponding wind turbine measurements in order to establish a causal relationship between coherent turbulent structures and wind turbine blade fatigue loads. Data were collected for one entire wind season from October 2000 to May 2001. During this period, the wind turbine operated under atmospheric conditions that support the formation of coherent turbulent structures 31% of the time. Using the equivalent fatigue load parameter as a measure of wind turbine blade fatigue and using statistical measures of the turbulent fluctuations of the wind, general correlation between the turbulence and the wind turbine response is shown. Direct correlation cannot be resolved with 10-minute statistics for several reasons. Multiple turbulent structures can exist within a 10-minute record, and the equivalent fatigue load parameter is essentially a 10-minute statistic that cannot estimate turbine response to individual turbulent structures. Large-magnitude turbulent fluctuations in the form of instantaneous Reynolds stresses do not necessarily correspond directly to large-magnitude blade root moment amplitudes. Thus, additional work must be done to quantify the negative turbine response and to correlate this response to turbulent inflow parameters over time scales less than 10 minutes.

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