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On modelling insights for emerging engineering problems : a case study on the impact of climate uncertainty on the operational performance of offshore wind farms

Dinwoodie, Iain and McMillan, David and Lazakis, Iraklis and Dalgic, Yalcin and Revie, Matthew (2017) On modelling insights for emerging engineering problems : a case study on the impact of climate uncertainty on the operational performance of offshore wind farms. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part O: Journal of Risk and Reliability. ISSN 1748-006X (In Press)

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This paper considers the technical and practical challenges involved in modelling emerging engineering problems. The inherent uncertainty and potential for change in operating environment and procedures adds significant complexity to the model development process. This is demonstrated by considering the development of a model to quantify the uncertainty associated with the influence of the wind and wave climate on the energy output of offshore wind farms which may result in sub-optimal operating decisions and site selection due to the competing influence of wind speed on power production and wave conditions on availability. The financial profitability of current and future projects may be threatened if climate uncertainty is not included in the planning and operational decision making process. A comprehensive climate and wind farm operational model was developed using a time series Monte Carlo simulation to model the performance of offshore wind farms, identifying non-linear relationships between climate, availability, energy output and capacity factor. This model was evaluated by engineers planning upcoming offshore wind farms to determine its usefulness for supporting operational decision making. From this, new consideration was given to the challenges in developing and applying complex simulations for emerging engineering problems.