Pitch angle control is the most common means of adjusting the torque of wind turbines. The verification of its correct function and the optimization of its control are therefore very important for improving the efficiency of wind kinetic energy conversion. On these grounds, this work is devoted to studying the impact of pitch misalignment on wind turbine power production. A test case wind farm sited onshore, featuring five multi-megawatt wind turbines, was studied. On one wind turbine on the farm, a maximum pitch imbalance between the blades of
was detected; therefore, there was an intervention for recalibration. Operational data were available for assessing production improvement after the intervention. Due to the non-stationary conditions to which wind turbines are subjected, this is generally a non-trivial problem. In this work, a general method was formulated for studying this kind of problem: it is based on the study, before and after the upgrade, of the residuals between the measured power output and a reliable model of the power output itself. A careful formulation of the model is therefore crucial: in this work, an automatic feature selection algorithm based on stepwise multivariate regression was adopted, and it allows identification of the most meaningful input variables for a multivariate linear model whose target is the power of the wind turbine whose pitch has been recalibrated. This method can be useful, in general, for the study of wind turbine power upgrades, which have been recently spreading in the wind energy industry, and for the monitoring of wind turbine performances. For the test case of interest, the power of the recalibrated wind turbine is modeled as a linear function of the active and reactive power of the nearby wind turbines, and it is estimated that, after the intervention, the pitch recalibration provided a 5.5% improvement in the power production below rated power. Wind turbine practitioners, in general, should pay considerable attention to the pitch imbalance, because it increases loads and affects the residue lifetime; in particular, the results of this study indicate that severe pitch misalignment can heavily impact power production.
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