Analysing the cost impact of failure rates for the next generation of offshore wind turbines

Donnelly, Orla and Carroll, James and Howland, Michael (2024) Analysing the cost impact of failure rates for the next generation of offshore wind turbines. Wind Energy. ISSN 1095-4244 (

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Offshore wind turbines have rapidly scaled up in recent years, with plans to construct turbines up to 22 MW in the next decade. However, the operations and maintenance (O&M) requirements for these ‘next‐generation turbines’ remain largely unknown. In this study, the total O&M costs are calculated, using a bench‐marked O&M model, for a hypothetical 10 MW turbine scenario using two drive train configurations, based on known failure rates of smaller turbines. The O&M costs of the 10 MW turbines are compared with those of existing 3 MW turbines in two case studies: a North Sea wind farm and an East Coast US wind farm. Overall, direct drive 10 MW turbines performed better depending on the site's climate conditions. The study indicated that the two‐stage drive train configuration may be more suitable for the US site than the North Sea, depending on the turbine's failure rate. The US site benefited from increased availability due to more favourable weather windows, resulting in lower lost revenue for the two‐stage configuration despite high transport costs. The study found that the failure rate of 10 MW offshore wind turbines in the North Sea with a two‐stage gearbox can increase by as much as 30% compared to the 3 MW failure rates without increasing direct O&M costs. These findings are crucial for the offshore wind energy industry, particularly for OEMs, developers and maintenance providers, as they provide insights into the required reliability for next generation turbines to reduce O&M costs compared to existing 3 MW turbines.