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Modelling and control of wind turbines

General details of the subject

Face-to-face degree course

Description and contextualization of the subject

This subject contains two parts.

In the first part that represent 24 face-to-face hours, firstly, a brief introduction to WTs is made, in which we present the main concepts, the advantages and disadvantages of this type of source, the WTs components and data on wind energy. Next, the basic modelling of a variable speed and pitch regulation WT is studied. This allows to understand how a WT works, and to introduce the static operation curve. Afterwards, the main problems of wind turbine control (power quality, reduction of mechanical loads, energy efficiency, contribution to the stability of the electrical network ...) and the different levels of control that are usually considered are analysed. To finish, the students learn how to design and tune basic controllers, and how to assess these controllers in Matlab/Simulink.

In the second part of 6 face-to-face hours, an expert of Ikerlan explains how to apply some learnt concepts in the NREL FAST numerical platform.

The subject is one of the 5 optative subjects of the Master. It is related to the part about modelling and control of the distributed generation. It is given in the first semester of the first year.

The design and manufacturing of wind turbines is a very important activity in Europe and especially in the Basque Country, where many companies and research centres work on this topic:

- Companies: Gamesa (now associated to Siemens), Acciona, M-Torres, Alstom, Ingeateam…

- Research centres: Ikerlan, Tekniker, CENER…

To follow efficiently the subject, it is necessary to:

- Master the basis of control engineering (modelling and control).

- Have experience in the use of Matlab/Simulink.

This subject is related in particular to these two other subjects of the Master:

- “Control of the machine-side converter-generator set”, which consider the electrical part of the WT.

- “Modelling and control of renewable generation farms and participating to ancillary services”, which is given later, in the second semester.

At the end of the subject, the students will be able to:

- Understand how work a WT

- To know how to model dynamically its main components

- To design basic controllers of a variable speed pitch regulated WT

Teaching staff

NameInstitutionCategoryDoctorTeaching profileAreaE-mail
CAMBLONG RUIZ, ARITZAUniversity of the Basque CountryProfesorado Titular De UniversidadDoctorBilingualSystems and Automatic


Students should have updated knowledge about the advanced working techniques and methodologies related to the field of Smartgrids and distributed generation, particularly from the point of view of their control. 5.0 %
Establishing dynamic models of the different components of Smartgrids, particularly different Distributed Generation units. 30.0 %
Design of control laws locally for the different components of Smartgrids, particularly Distributed Generation units. 30.0 %
Evaluating and validating models and drivers of different components of Smartgrids, through simulations and experimental testing, using different computing and prototyping tools. 25.0 %
Students should be able to communicate about the projects carried out working in multidisciplinary and multilingual national and international teams of professionals and researchers operating in the field of Smartgrids. 10.0 %

Study types

TypeFace-to-face hoursNon face-to-face hoursTotal hours
Applied classroom-based groups101525
Applied computer-based groups101525

Training activities

NameHoursPercentage of classroom teaching
Drawing up reports and presentations0.00 %
Evaluation activities2.0100 %
Exercises25.040 %
Expositive classes0.00 %
Individual work and/or group work5.00 %
Presentation of projects0.00 %
Solving practical cases0.00 %
Student's personal work15.00 %
Systematised study0.00 %
Theoretical presentations8.0100 %
Working with it equipment20.050 %

Assessment systems

NameMinimum weightingMaximum weighting
Attendance and participation10.0 % 50.0 %
Continuous evaluation0.0 % 100.0 %
Drawing up reports and presentations20.0 % 100.0 %
Multiple-choice examination0.0 % 50.0 %
Oral examination0.0 % 100.0 %

Ordinary call: orientations and renunciation


The evaluation is of ongoing type. It is why it is compulsory to be present in class.

The first part of the subject (80%) is assessed from 3 different activities, according to this weighting:

- 2/10 for tests, in order to ensure that the students have acquired the needed knowledge.

- 3/10 for the work carried out in the course, in order to ensure that the students have acquired the needed knowledge and skills.

- 5/10 for the assignment/report, in order to ensure that the students have acquired the needed skills.

The second part of the subject (20%) is assessed through an only activity, an assignment/report.

The global mark is obtained by a ponderation of the marks of each part. The ponderation of the first part is of 80% and that of the second part is 20%. To pass the subject, a minimal global mark of 5/10 is needed.

More information related to the assessment is given through the eGela platform.

In relation to the Extraordinary call, to release one evaluation activity, the student must have a grade higher than 5/10 in this activity. The validated activities will only be saved in the same academic year.


According to article 8 of the Regulations, regulating the assessment of students in the official degrees, the students shall have the right to be evaluated by means of the FINAL EVALUATION SYSTEM, independently of the fact that has or has not participated in the CONTINUOUS EVALUATION SYSTEM. In order to do so, students must present the following information written to the teacher in charge of the subject the renunciation of the CONTINUOUS EVALUATION within a period of 9 weeks from the beginning of the term. In this case, the student will be assessed with a single final exam. This final exam will consist on an oral exam related to the skills that the students have to acquire in the subject.


According to article 12 of the Regulations, regulating the assessment of students in the official degrees, in the case of CONTINUOUS EVALUATION, the student may renounce the call for proposals within a period which, as a minimum, will be up to one month before the end of the teaching period of the corresponding subject. This waiver must be submitted in writing to the teacher responsible for the subject. In the case of FINAL EVALUATION, a no presentation to the official examination will result in the automatic waiver of the corresponding call. Renunciation of the call will result in the qualification of not presented.

Extraordinary call: orientations and renunciation


The students that have not pass the subject in the ordinary call will have to carry out again the activities that they have not passed in this call.


The exam of this call will be the same as that of the ordinary call, it is to say an oral exam related to the skills that the students have to acquire in the subject.


A no presentation to the official examination will result in the automatic waiver of the corresponding call. Renunciation of the call will result in the qualification of not presented.



Part 1:

1. Introduction to wind turbines (WTs): some technological concepts, WTs main components, advantages and disadvantages of wind energy, data on wind energy development.

2. Wind turbines modelling: interactions between different parts of the WT, mechanical part, pitch actuator, electrical part.

3. Control structure, static operating curve and control objectives

4. Wind turbines controllers design: control in zone 2, 3 and 4, switching between zones.

Part 2:

1. Application to FAST tool of NREL: description of FAST tool

Exercises and practical works:

Part 1:

1. Practical work 1: modelling of a wind turbine (WT).

2. Practical work 2: control of the WT in zone 2.

3. Exercise 1: static error calculation of the WT controlled in zone 3 with a proportional controller.

4. Exercise 2: PI controller tuning in zone 3.

5. Practical work 3: control of the WT in zone 3.

6. Exercise 3: PI controller tuning in zone 4.

7. Practical work 4: control of the WT in zone 4.

8. Practical work 5: switching between zones.

Part 2: in FAST tool (most parts as tutorials)

1. Practical work 1: quick simulation.

2. Practical work 2: power coefficient curve.

3. Practical work 2: Jonkmans’ control.

4. Practical work 2: fixed speed control.


Compulsory materials

Access to the material of the subject through Moodle:

Basic bibliography

David Rivkin, Lois D. Anderson, Laurel Silk. Wind turbine control systems. Ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning, Burlington, Massachusetts: 2013.

Ahmad Hemami. Wind turbine technology. Ed. Cengage Learning, Clifton Park, Nueva York: cop.2012.

A.R. Jha. Wind turbine technology. Ed. CRC Press, Boca Ratón, Florida: 2010.

José Luis Rodríguez Amenedo, Santiago Arnalte[s] Gómez, Juan Carlos Burgos Díaz. Sistemas eólicos de producción de energía eléctrica. Ed. Rueda, Madrid: 2003.

Camblong H. Minimisation de l'impact des perturbations d'origine éolienne dans la génération d'électricité par des aérogénérateurs à vitesse variable, tesis doctoral de la l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM, Burdeos).

Camblong H., Rodriguez Vidal M., Puiggali. J.R., Principles of a Simulation Model for a Variable Speed Pitch Regulated Wind Turbine, Wind Engineering (ISSN 0309-524X), Vol. 28 (2), 2004, pp. 157-175.

Camblong H., Martinez de Alegria I., Rodriguez M., Abad G., Experimental Evaluation of Wind Turbines Maximum Power Point Tracking Controllers, Energy Conversion and Management (ISSN 0196-8904), Vol. 47 (18-19), 2006, pp. 2846-2858.

In-depth bibliography

Z. Lubosny. Wind turbine operation in electric power systems: advanced modeling. Ed. Springer, Berlin; New York: c2010.

Fernando D. Bianchi, Hernán De Battista and Ricardo J. Mantz. Wind turbine control systems: principles, modelling and gain scheduling design. Ed. Springer, London: 2007

Pal Szentannai, Power Plant Applications of Advanced Control Techniques (ISBN 978-3-902655-11-0). Capítulo: Camblong H., Tapia G. Digital Robust Control of a Variable-Speed Pitch-Regulated Wind Turbine. ProcessEng Engineering GmbH, Viena, Austria: 2010.

Camblong H., Tapia G., Rodríguez M., Robust Digital Control of a Wind Turbine for Rated-Speed and Variable-Power Operation Regime, IEE Proceedings Control Theory & Applications (ISSN 1350-2379), Vol. 153 (1), 2006, pp. 81-91.

Bossanyi E. A., Individual pitch control for load reduction, Wind Energy, Vol. 6, 2003, pp.119-128.


Wind Energy

Wind Engineering

Energy Conversion and Management

Renewable Energy


IET Renewable Power Generation

IEEE Energy Conversion

Links European Project funded under the EUs Sixth Framework Program (FP6), 2006-2011, towards the design of very large wind turbines. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy's laboratory for renewable Energy and energy efficiency research and development. Wind energy research at DTU (Technical University of Denmark) ECN (Energy research Center of the Netherlands)

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