Wind turbine blade design is currently based on the combination of a plurality of airfoil sections along the rotorblade span. The two-dimensional airfoil characteristics are usually measured with wind tunnel experiments or computed by means of numerical simulation codes. The general airfoil input for the calculation of the rotorblade power characteristics as well as the subsequent aerodynamic and aeroelastic loads are based on these two-dimensional airfoil characteristics. In this paper, the effects of inflow turbulence and wind tunnel test measurement deviations are investigated and discussed, to allow considerations of such effects in the rotorblade design process. The results of CFD simulations with various turbulence models are utilized in combination with wind tunnel measurements in order to assess the impact of such discrepancies. It seems that turbulence, airfoil surface roughness and early transition effects are able to contribute significantly to the uncertainty and scattering of measurements. Various wind tunnel facilities generate different performance characteristic curves, while grid-generated turbulence is generally not included in the wind tunnel measurements during airfoil characterization. Furthermore the correlation of grid-generated wind tunnel turbulence with the atmospheric turbulence time and length scales is not easily achieved. All the aforementioned uncertainties can increase the performance scattering of current wind turbine blade designs as well as the generated aeroelastic loads. A brief assessment of the effect of such uncertainties on wind turbine performance is given at the last part of this work by means of BEM simulations on a wind turbine blade.

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