Wind turbine wake can be studied in computational fluid dynamics with the use of permeable body forces (e.g. actuator disc, line and surface). This paper presents a general flexible method to redistribute wind turbine blade forces as permeable body forces in a computational domain. The method can take any kind of shape discretization, determine the intersectional elements with the computational grid and use the size of these elements to redistribute proportionally the forces. This method can potentially reduce the need for mesh refinement in the region surrounding the rotor and, therefore, also reduce the computational cost of large wind farm wake simulations. The special case of the actuator disc is successfully validated with an analytical solution for heavily loaded turbines and with a full-rotor computation in computational fluid dynamics. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.