Journal of Risk and Reliability, Vol. 230, No. 3, pp. 251-264, 2016, DOI: 10.1177/1748006X15624592.

Comparisons of Offshore Wind Turbine Reliability

Tatiana M. Delorm1, Yizhou Lu2, Aristos Christou1,2, and Patrick McCluskey2,
1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
2 CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA


Wind energy is an expanding renewable source of power being implemented globally. Although initially offshore wind farms were developed in shallow waters, the present projects around the world are being installed or are being planned in deeper waters, further from the shore. The value of deep water implementation is the availability of higher wind speeds, improving power output capacity factor and improved capital returns.1 Offshore wind turbines (OWTs) installed at beneficial marine sites must be designed for a life span of 20–25 years and endure severe environmental conditions, posing considerable limits on their accessibility and maintainability. The complex mechanical and electrical control systems are an integral part of an OWT, and to achieve the necessary reliability and availability goals for offshore wind farm developers has become a challenging problem. Since the deployment of the first offshore wind farm in Denmark in 1991, more than 20 different OWT designs have seen operation in the offshore environment. However, no operational failure rate information is yet available from these machines in the public domain. The lack of reliability prediction data makes selection of a specific OWT technology for offshore wind farm developers risky and may impact on the global acceptance of OWTs.

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