In this paper, an adaptive gain modified optimal torque controller (AGMOTC) is proposed and evaluated for wind turbine partial load operation. An internal PI technique is applied for gain scheduling in order to accelerate the controller response under volatile wind speed while the adaptive searching technique endows the controller with robust convergence to the optimal operating point under plant uncertainties. The light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology is integrated with the AGMOTC to provide reliable previewed wind speed measurements. Simulations on the NREL 5MW wind turbine show that the LIDAR-enabled AGMOTC outperforms the baseline controller considering the wind energy yield. Additionally, the results show the impact of the proposed controller on the wind turbine fatigue loads.

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