A model for availability growth with application to new generation offshore wind farms

Athena Zitrou, Tim Bedford, Lesley Walls

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A model for availability growth is developed to capture the effect of systemic risk prior to construction of a complex system. The model has been motivated by new generation offshore wind farms where investment decisions need to be taken before test and operational data are available. We develop a generic model to capture the systemic risks arising from innovation in evolutionary system designs. By modelling the impact of major and minor interventions to mitigate weaknesses and to improve the failure and restoration processes of subassemblies, we are able to measure the growth in availability performance of the system. We describe the choices made in modelling our particular industrial setting using an example for a typical UK Round III offshore wind farm. We obtain point estimates of the expected availability having populated the simulated model using appropriate judgemental and empirical data. We show the relative impact of modelling systemic risk on system availability performance in comparison with estimates obtained (Lesley Walls) from typical system availability modelling assumptions used in offshore wind applications. While modelling growth in availability is necessary for meaningful decision support in developing complex systems such as offshore wind farms, we also discuss the relative value of explicitly articulating epistemic uncertainties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
Early online date12 Feb 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2016


  • availability growth
  • systemic risk
  • offshore wind farm
  • condition monitoring


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