Effect of curtailment scenarios on the loads and lifetime of offshore wind turbine generator support structures

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Curtailment is a known phenomenon for wind turbine operators of both onshore and offshore wind turbine generators (WTG). Curtailment refers to the situation in which the power output of all WTG's within a windfarm is forced below the expected power output at the occurring environmental conditions. A direct consequence of curtailment is the loss of power production. In the present contribution further consequences of curtailment of an offshore wind farm (OWF) are studied from the perspective of the support structure, in specific the foundation. In relation to curtailment a couple of potentially critical operational conditions impacting the fatigue consumption of the support structure can be identified. Besides the standstill during operational windspeed conditions, in specific damaging for the +7MW generation WTG's, curtailment introduces repeated transitions between operational conditions. Since transitions between operational conditions of a WTG are known to be a cause of high fatigue loads in the structural components of the WTG, their increased occurrence due to curtailment might also have an impact on the fatigue consumption of the support structure. With the growing interest of the industry to quantify and potentially optimize the structural lifetime consumption in view of potential lifetime extension of OWF assets, any potential fatigue damaging operational condition is to be investigated. The present work focusses on the investigation of the impact these transitional load cycles may have on the structural lifetime of the WTG foundation. To assess the impact on lifetime, the assessment of the damage equivalent loads (DEL) derived from structural health monitoring (SHM) data are used as a data-driven alternative for model-based load simulations. In the present work such data-driven lifetime assessment studies the impact of curtailment regimes with different frequency of stop and start cycles on the structural lifetime. The study is performed based on 1 year of SHM data collected from two OWF's. The assessment demonstrates that the impact of additional transitional load cycles on the structural fatigue life consumption is to be considered when defining a long-term curtailment strategy for an OWF.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012013
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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