Sensitivity Analysis of Numerical Modeling Input Parameters on Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Loads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Floating wind turbines must withstand a unique and challenging set of loads from the wind and ocean environment. To derisk development, accurate predictions of these loads are necessary. Uncertainty in modeling predictions leads to larger required safety factors, increasing project costs and the levelized cost of energy. Complex aero-hydro-elastic modeling tools use many input parameters to represent the wind, waves, current, aerodynamic loads, hydrodynamic loads, and structural properties. It is helpful to understand which of these parameters ultimately drives a design. In this work, an ultimate and fatigue loads sensitivity analysis was performed with 35 different input parameters, using an elementary effects approach to identify the most influential parameters for a case study involving the NREL 5-MW baseline wind turbine atop the OC4-DeepCwind semisubmersible during normal operation. The importance of each parameter was evaluated using 14 response quantities of interest across three operational wind speed conditions. The study concludes that turbulent wind velocity standard deviation is the parameter with the strongest sensitivity; this value is important not just for turbine loads, but also for the global system response. The system center of mass in the wind direction is found to have the highest impact on the system rotation and tower loads. The current velocity is found to be the most dominating parameter for the system global motion and consequently the mooring loads. All tested wind turbulence parameters in addition to the standard deviation, are also found to be influential. Wave characteristics are influential for some fatigue loading, but did not significantly impact the extreme ultimate loads in these operational load cases.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages35
JournalWind Energy Science Discussions
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5700-88500 for final paper as published in Wind Energy Science

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-86306


  • elementary effects
  • floating offshore wind turbine
  • sensitivity


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