Availability, operation & maintenance costs of offshore wind turbines with different drive train configurations

James Carroll, Alasdair McDonald, Iain Dinwoodie, David McMillan, Matthew Revie, Iraklis Lazakis

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Different configurations of gearbox, generator and power converter exist for offshore wind turbines. This paper investigated the performance of four prominent drive train configurations over a range of sites distinguished by their distance to shore. Failure rate data from onshore and offshore wind turbine populations was used where available or systematically estimated where no data was available. This was inputted along with repair resource requirements to an offshore accessibility and operation and maintenance model to calculate availability and operation and maintenance costs for a baseline wind farm consisting of 100 turbines. The results predicted that turbines with a permanent magnet generator and a fully rated power converter will have a higher availability and lower operation and maintenance costs than turbines with doubly-fed induction generators. This held true for all sites in this analysis. It was also predicted that in turbines with a permanent magnet generator, the direct drive configuration has the highest availability and lowest operation and maintenance costs followed by the turbines with 2 stage and 3 stage gearboxes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-378
Number of pages18
JournalWind Energy
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • offshore wind turbine
  • wind farm
  • operational performance
  • permanent magnet generator
  • drive train
  • power train
  • doubly-fed induction generator


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