Sensitivity Analysis of Wind Plant Performance to Key Turbine Design Parameters: A Systems Engineering Approach

Katherine Dykes, Andrew Ning, Ryan King, Peter Graf, George Scot, Paul Veers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


This paper introduces the development of a new software framework for research, design, and development of wind energy systems which is meant to 1) represent a full wind plant including all physical and nonphysical assets and associated costs up to the point of grid interconnection, 2) allow use of interchangeable models of varying fidelity for different aspects of the system, and 3) support system level multidisciplinary analyses and optimizations. This paper describes the design of the overall software capability and applies it to a global sensitivity analysis of wind turbine and plant performance and cost. The analysis was performed using three different model configurations involving different levels of fidelity, which illustrate how increasing fidelity can preserve important system interactions that build up to overall system performance and cost. Analyses were performed for a reference wind plant based on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's 5-MW reference turbine at a mid-Atlantic offshore location within the United States. Three software configurations were used: 1) a previously published wind plant cost model using simplified parametric scaling relationships, 2) an integrated set of wind turbine and plant engineering and cost models that use a "bottom-up" approach to determine overall wind plant performance and cost metrics, and 3) the second set of models plus the addition of a plant layout and flow model for calculation of energy production. Global sensitivity analysis was performed on each analysis set with respect to key wind turbine configuration parameters including rotor diameter, rated power, hub height, and maximum tip speed. The analyses show how the latter approaches capture important coupling throughout the wind plant in a way that has not previously been achieved. In addition, while deficiencies even in the newer model set are readily identifiable, the flexibility of the new framework shows how extension and gradual buildup of model fidelity for various parts of the system provide a powerful tool that enables analysis for an ever-expanding set of wind energy research and design problems.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2014
Event32nd ASME Wind Energy Symposium - SciTech Forum and Exposition 2014 - National Harbor, MD, United States
Duration: 13 Jan 201417 Jan 2014


Conference32nd ASME Wind Energy Symposium - SciTech Forum and Exposition 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNational Harbor, MD

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-61784

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-61786


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