Hurricane Resilient Wind Plant Concept Study Final Report

Scott Schreck, Walter Musial, Benjamin Maples, Zachary Parker, Amy Robertson, George Scott, Tyler Stehly, Besart Dibra, Zachary Finucane, Benjamin Foley, Rudy Hall, Mads Overgaard Andersen, Kevin Standish, Ken Lee, Amool Raina, Kyle Wetzel, Rick Damiani, Fabian Wendt

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Hurricanes occur over much of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, from Long Island to the U.S.-Mexico border, encompassing much of the nation's primary offshore wind resource. Category 5 hurricanes have made landfall as far north as North Carolina, with Category 3 hurricanes reaching New York with some frequency. Along the US West coast, typhoons strike with similar frequency and severity. At present, offshore wind turbine design practices do not fully consider the severe operating conditions imposed by hurricanes. Although universally applied to most turbine designs, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards do not sufficiently address the duration, directionality, magnitude, or character of hurricanes. To assess advanced design features that could mitigate hurricane loading in various ways, this Hurricane-Resilient Wind Plant Concept Study considered a concept design study of a 500-megawatt (MW) wind power plant consisting of 10-MW wind turbines deployed in 25-meter (m) water depths in the Western Gulf of Mexico. This location was selected because hurricane frequency and severity provided a unique set of design challenges that would enable assessment of hurricane risk and projection of cost of energy (COE) changes, all in response to specific U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) objectives. Notably, the concept study pursued a holistic approach that incorporated multiple advanced system elements at the wind turbine and wind power plant levels to meet objectives for system performance and reduced COE. Principal turbine system elements included a 10-MW rotor with structurally efficient, low-solidity blades; a lightweight, permanent-magnet, direct-drive generator, and an innovative fixed substructure. At the wind power plant level, turbines were arrayed in a large-scale wind power plant in a manner aimed at balancing energy production against capital, installation, and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs to achieve significant overall reductions in COE.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages201
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-66869


  • conceptual design
  • hurricane resilience
  • levelized cost of energy
  • NREL
  • offshore wind
  • survivability


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