Wind Turbine Generator Reliability Analysis to Reduce Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Costs

Raja Pulikollu, William Erdman, Jeff Mclaughlin, Kevin Alewine, Shawn Sheng, Jim Bezner

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Wind turbine major systems (blades, pitch, main bearing, gearbox, and generator) are integrated into a composite system. Specifications for these systems and components are developed to achieve symmetry of operation, avoiding negative interaction. For instance, the main bearing, gearbox, and generator (drivetrain) components are interdependent, functioning in unison for efficient energy production. Hence, wind resource and grid interactions affecting the drivetrain impact the performance and reliability of the turbine generator. This paper discusses generator reliability covering the technology evolution over the last 20 years. EPRI's Wind Network for Enhanced Reliability (WinNER) web-based tool and Shermco Industries databases are presented, and conclusions are drawn regarding failures specific to generator design, manufacturing, and operating conditions. Additionally, this paper compares the life expectancy of stator-fed configurations and doubly fed generator systems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-86721


  • digitalization
  • generator
  • operations and maintenance
  • reliability
  • wind turbine


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