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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Floating wind turbines must withstand a unique and challenging set of loads from the wind and ocean environment. To de-risk 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-proxy load 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 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (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-proxy loading but do not significantly impact the extreme ultimate loads in these operational load cases. The required number of random seeds for stochastic environmental conditions is considered to ensure that the sensitivities are due to the input parameters and not due to the seed. The required number of analysis points in the parameter space is identified so that the conclusions represent a global sensitivity. The results are specific to the platform, turbine, and choice of parameter ranges, but the demonstrated approach can be applied widely to guide focus in parameter uncertainty.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1575-1595
Number of pages21
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5700-86306 for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-88500


  • elementary effects
  • floating offshore wind turbine
  • sensitivity


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