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Title: Gusts and shear within hurricane eyewalls can exceed offshore wind turbine design standards

Here, offshore wind energy development is underway in the U.S., with proposed sites located in hurricane-prone regions. Turbine design criteria outlined by the International Electrotechnical Commission do not encompass the extreme wind speeds and directional shifts of hurricanes stronger than category 2. We examine a hurricane's turbulent eyewall using large-eddy simulations with Cloud Model 1. Gusts and mean wind speeds near the eyewall of a category 5 hurricane exceed the current Class I turbine design threshold of 50 m s –1 mean wind and 70 m s –1 gusts. Largest gust factors occur at the eye-eyewall interface. Further, shifts in wind direction suggest that turbines must rotate or yaw faster than current practice. Although current design standards omit mention of wind direction change across the rotor layer, large values (15–50°) suggest that veer should be considered.
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 44; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Water Technologies Office (EE-4W)
Country of Publication:
United States
17 WIND ENERGY; hurricane boundary layer; LES; wind turbine design; hurricane eyewall; offshore wind energy
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1366546; OSTI ID: 1372623