Wind energy is considered one of the most promising renewable energy sources. However, the advancement of wind power generation is impeded by major challenges such as the cost of wind power, environmental impacts, and effects on power grid stability. One of the major environmental challenges hindering public acceptance for new wind power installations is the noise emission from wind turbines. Unfortunately, reducing the noise emission could lead to decreased wind energy harvesting. As a result of these conflicting goals, a tradeoff between power generation and noise emission arises.
An optimal control approach for wind turbines is presented in this paper. By controlling the electromagnetic torque of the generator and/or the blade pitch angle, an optimal operating condition that considers the tradeoff between wind turbine energy harvesting and noise emission can be obtained. Simulations were conducted to analyze the impact of the control design on power generation and noise emission in partial and full-load conditions. Additionally, a case study for a wind farm located near a residential area operating in two different wind classes is detailed.