In 2016, wind provided 5.6 percent of all electricity produced, more than double the amount generated by wind in 2010, but still a far cry from its potential.
According to the researchers, a one percent improvement applied to all wind farms in the nation would generate the equivalent of $100 million in value.
In the branch of physics known as fluid dynamics, a common way to model turbulence is through large eddy simulations.
Several years ago, Stefano Leonardi and his research team created models that can integrate physical behavior across a wide range of length scales -- from turbine rotors 100 meters long, to centimeters-thick tips of a blades -- and predict wind power with accuracy using supercomputers.
"We developed a code to mimic wind turbines, taking into account the interference between the wake of the tower and the nacelle [the cover that houses all of the generating components in a wind turbine] with the wake of the turbine rotor," said Leonardi, associate professor of mechanical engineering and an author on the Wind Energy paper, which was selected for the cover.
Testing their model's results against data from a wind farm in North Texas, they saw a 90 percent agreement between their predictions and the turbine's efficiency.