Assessment of operational losses as a mean for decision making and risk assessment in wind energy assets

  • Kelvin Palhares Bastos Sathler

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In recent years, the wind energy industry has rapidly advanced and is now considered a mature technology. Nevertheless, some researchers and critics doubt its capacity to survive without governmental incentives and subsidies, particularly in the medium- and long-term period, given the increase in costs and operational losses. This thesis aims to explore the challenges of wind energy deployments, focusing on operational losses and costs trends that threaten projects viability. To achieve this goal, first an extended review on operational losses were performed, and an adaptation of the tool Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) was proposed, considering the entire process and losses elements namely availability, performance, and quality. Then, three operational loss trends, increase in failure rate, ageing, and curtailment were identified. Finally, economic analyses, which incorporated traditional metrics such as Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) and Net Present Value (NPV), were conducted to establish the impact of cost and losses trends on project viability over their anticipated lifespan. The results suggest that the economic failure of wind systems is mainly due to the underestimation or neglection of part of these losses. Moreover, the newly proposed metric, adapted from OEE, is shown to be an effective tool for highlighting hidden losses and revealing the impact of certain decisions on the entire system. Several case studies and economic analyses were performed to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed framework, including a Multivariate Monte Carlo Simulation (MMCS), which provided a more comprehensive understanding of loss trends rates impact and the benefits of the implementation of solutions such as Condition Monitoring System (CMS) and overplanting to reduce operational losses. Overall, this study provided practical tools that can be easily adapted and tailored to different deployments. The findings have significant implications for researchers, investors, and industry professionals, helping them make better-informed decisions over wind energy projects. Keywords: Economic appraisal, Operational Losses, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, Availability, Performance, Quality, Ageing, Curtailment, Levelized cost of energy, Net Present Value, Monte Carlo Simulation, Condition Monitoring System, Overplanting.
Date of Award2 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorFeargal Brennan (Supervisor) & Rafet Kurt (Supervisor)

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