Control of Wind Turbines

Mitarbeiter bei der Betriebsführung eines Prüfstands beim Fraunhofer IWES Mitarbeiter bei der Betriebsführung eines Prüfstands beim Fraunhofer IWES Mitarbeiter bei der Betriebsführung eines Prüfstands beim Fraunhofer IWES © Fraunhofer IWES

Control plays a key role in conception, design and operation of wind turbines. The controller adapts the turbine to particular external conditions and operation conditions (e. g. yaw control, torque-speed control, pitch control, etc.). A well-balanced controller can improve the performance of a wind turbine significantly and can help to reduce mechanical loads. On the contrary, a bad controller may eliminate the performance of turbine components. Simply speaking, there is no "good" wind turbine without a "good" controller.

The course Control of Wind Turbines (CWT) teaches the foundations of modelling, analysis and control synthesis of linear systems with a focus on the application to wind turbines.

Credit Points

6 CP / 5 CP

depending on PO



SWS: 2L / 2T



20 min



Documents in parts EN

Learning Objectives

The module CWT gives insight into manifold competences in the area of wind turbine control. After successful completion, the students are able to

  • develop a simplified dynamic model of a wind turbine,
  • describe the components of a wind turbine mathematically,
  • analyse the system properties of a wind turbine on the basis of a dynamic model,
  • understand the control tasks in the context of wind turbine design,
  • design a PID pitch controller, and
  • prepare a control algorithm for digital implementation.


The lecture of the module CWT addresses the following topics:

  • Introduction to control technology
  • Modelling of dynamic systems: Derivation of linear differential equations, transfer functions, state space description, and dynamic modelling of a wind turbine
  • Analysis of dynamic systems: Analysis in the time and frequency domain, root locus plots, stability analysis, controllability and observability
  • Control design: Control tasks in the context of wind turbines, PID control and parameter adjustment, cascade control, individual pitch control, and real time implementation

Tutorial and Unmarked Achievement

In parallel to the lectures, students practise the learned topics in accompanying tutorials. Some of the tutorials take place in the CIP pool with a PC, in which simulations strengthen the understanding of control technologies for wind turbines. The challenge of the course to teach applied control technology to students of civil engineering is solved by a carefully considered education concept with activating units. That concept has already been published in a peer reviewed journal article.

© FBG / C. Bierwagen
© Silvio Matysik /
© FBG / C. Bierwagen

In order to emphasise their self-study engagement, students have to prepare a portfolio as an additional unmarked achievement. Therein, they individually collect course material and additional information that they consider important for accomplishing the learning objectives. Details on the portfolio are explained during the course.

Exam Modalities

For the successful completion of the course, students have to pass an oral exam. The oral exam has a duration of approximately 20 minutes. Students have to register in due time at Akademisches Prüfungsamt (APA). Online registration is also required for the additional unmarked achievement, i. e. the portfolio.

Changes in the Master's studies "Energy Technology": Students receive 5 CP. As Energy Technology students already have at least basic knowledge of control technology, understanding the theory of the course is much easier, reducing the amount of required self-studies. A reduction of work load is thus not necessary.