Atmosphere to Electrons: Enabling the Wind Plant of Tomorrow

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e) research initiative is focused on improving the performance and reliability of wind plants by establishing an unprecedented understanding of how the Earth’s atmosphere interacts with the wind plants and
developing innovative technologies to maximize energy extraction from the wind. Learn more about the program from the Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e): Enabling the Wind Plant of Tomorrow video.

The A2e initiative pursues an integrated research portfolio to coordinate and optimize advancements in four main research areas: 1) plant performance and financial risk assessment, 2) atmospheric science, 3) wind plant aerodynamics, and 4) next-generation wind plant technology. It offers an integrated systems approach to developing the next generation of System Management of the Atmospheric Resource by Turbines (SMART) wind plant technologies necessary to increase wind deployment.

The goal of A2e is to ensure future plants are sited, built, and operated in a way that produces the most cost-effective electrons—in the form of usable electric power—from the winds that pass through the plant. At the heart of A2e is the realization that flow turbulence produced by weather, complex terrain, and turbine wakes impact plant performance. Upwind turbine wakes meander downstream and can impinge on downwind turbines. The wake interaction significantly affects the performance of downwind turbines by increasing fatigue, reducing operational life, and lowering power output.