Reliability-Based Layout Optimization in Offshore Wind Energy Systems

Caitlyn Clark, Garrett Barter, Kelsey Shaler, Bryony DuPont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus Citations


Existing methods for optimizing wind array layouts typically use power or cost objectives and rarely consider reliability-based objectives. Component and system failure rates, however, are dependent on location-specific wind conditions, are influenced by array layout and wake interactions, and have a direct and significant impact on capital costs, operational costs, and power production. Although wind power plant models exist that calculate wind loads with sufficient resolution to capture component loading dynamics from wind conditions, they are computationally expensive and thus not suitable for research applications requiring many evaluations, particularly optimization. This study describes the development of computationally efficient, reliability-based layout optimization methods, enabling us to explore the relationship between component reliability and layout optimization. These methods include the surrogate modeling of the planet bearing life based on varying wind conditions simulated in FAST.Farm and the formulation of reliability-based objectives based on failure cost and power production models. Through demonstration of this method, we explore how wind conditions, objective functions, and capacity density influence reliability-based layout optimization. Results indicate that considering reliability alongside power production can reduce failure costs associated with replacement costs and downtime whilemaintaining or improving power production. Our conclusions highlight the opportunity for wind power plant developers to integrate reliability and operational expenditures alongside performance and capital expenditure objectives in plant design and development to improve plant performance and costs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)125-148
Number of pages24
JournalWind Energy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Wind Energy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-78861


  • drivetrain
  • layout optimization
  • power production
  • reliability
  • wind energy systems


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