Yaw error is the angle between a turbine’s rotor central axis and the wind flow. The presence of yaw error results in lower power production from turbines. Yaw error also puts extra loads on turbine components, which in turn, lowers their reliability. In this study we develop a stochastic model to calculate the average capacity factor of a 50 turbine offshore wind farm and investigate the effects of minimizing the yaw error on the capacity factor. In this paper, we define the capacity factor in terms of energy production, which is consistent with the common practice of wind farms (rather than the power production capacity factor definition that is used in textbooks and research articles). The benefit of using the energy production is that it incorporates both the power production improvements and downtime decreases.

For minimizing the yaw error, a nacelle mounted LIDAR is used. While the LIDAR is on a turbine, it collects wind speed and direction data for a period of time, which is used to calculate a correction bias for the yaw controller of the turbine, then it will be moved to another turbine in the farm to perform the same task.

The results of our investigation shows that although the improvements of the capacity factor are less than the theoretical values, the extra income from the efficiency improvements is larger than the cost of the LIDAR.

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