Reliability assessment of wind turbines Sørensen, John Dalsgaard
Wind turbines can be considered as structures that are in between civil engineering structures and machines since they consist of structural components and many electrical and machine components together with a control system. Further, a wind turbine is not a one-of-a-kind structure but manufactured in series production based on many component tests, some prototype tests and zeroseries wind turbines. These characteristics influence the reliability assessment where focus in this paper is on the structural components. Levelized Cost Of Energy is very important for wind energy, especially when comparing to other energy sources. Therefore much focus is on cost reductions and improved reliability both for offshore and onshore wind turbines. The wind turbine components should be designed to have sufficient reliability level with respect to both extreme and fatigue loads but also not be too costly (and safe). In probabilistic design the single components are designed to a level of reliability, which accounts for an optimal balance between failure consequences, cost of operation & maintenance, material costs and the probability of failure. Furthermore, using a probabilistic design basis for reliability assessment it is possible to design wind turbines such that site-specific information on climate parameters can be included. Illustrative examples are presented considering uncertainty modeling, reliability assessment and reliability-based calibration of partial safety factors for structural wind turbine components exposed to extreme loads and fatigue loads.
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