On the sensitivity of wind turbine failure rate estimates to failure definitions

Anderson, F and Dawid, R and McMillan, D and Cava, D García (2023) On the sensitivity of wind turbine failure rate estimates to failure definitions. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2626 (1). 012025. ISSN 1742-6588 (https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/2626/1/012025)

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This study presents a wind turbine reliability analysis at the turbine and assembly level. It is concerned with the uncertainties associated with data-processing for wind turbine failure rate figures. These uncertainties are prominent in discussions of failure data in the literature. In particular, the influence of different failure definitions on failure rate estimates are investigated. The baseline estimate is 9.06 failures per turbine per year. This figure changes significantly when introducing a lower downtime limit, repair limit or limit on time between subsequent downtimes of the same turbine for a downtime event to be considered a failure. It changes significantly depending on which maintenance actions are categorised as corrective and by what data points represent an intervention. From the one dataset analysed here, results show derived failure rates ranging from below 1 failures per turbine per year to over 10 failures per turbine per year using failure definitions which have previously been used in the literature. When restricting failures to those that can be attributed to a particular assembly, the failure rate estimate reduces to 7.47 failures per turbine per year. Assemblies that fail the most are the frequency converter (at around 1 failures per turbine per year) and the cooling system (at around 0.9 failure per turbine per year). The gearbox, blades, yaw system and hydraulic group were the next most frequently failing assemblies.