Farm-wide virtual load monitoring for offshore wind structures via Bayesian neural networks

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Offshore wind structures are exposed to a harsh marine environment and are subject to deterioration mechanisms throughout their operational lifetime. Even if the deterioration evolution of structural elements can be estimated through physics-based deterioration models, the uncertainties involved in the process hurdle the selection of lifecycle management decisions, e.g., lifetime extension. In this scenario, the collection of relevant information through an efficient monitoring system enables the reduction of uncertainties, ultimately driving more optimal lifecycle decisions. However, a full monitoring instrumentation implemented on all wind turbines in a farm may become unfeasible due to practical and economical constraints. Besides, certain load monitoring systems often become defective after a few years of marine environment exposure. Addressing the aforementioned concerns, a farm-wide virtual load monitoring scheme directed by a fleet-leader wind turbine offers an attractive solution. Fetched with data retrieved from a fully instrumented wind turbine, a model can be first trained and then deployed, yielding load predictions for non-fully monitored wind turbines, from which only standard data are available, e.g., supervisory control and data acquisition. During the deployment stage, the pretrained virtual monitoring model may, however, receive previously unseen monitoring data, leading to inaccurate load predictions. In this article, we propose a virtual load monitoring framework formulated via Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) and provide relevant implementation details needed for the construction, training, and deployment of BNN data-based virtual monitoring models. As opposed to their deterministic counterparts, BNNs intrinsically announce the uncertainties associated with generated load predictions and allow to detect inaccurate load estimations generated for non-fully monitored wind turbines. The proposed virtual load monitoring is thoroughly tested through an experimental campaign in an operational offshore wind farm and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of BNN models for “fleet-leader”-based farm-wide virtual monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalStructural Health Monitoring
Issue number3
Early online date24 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research is funded by the Belgian Energy Transition Fund (FPS Economy) through PhairywinD ( ) and MaxWind projects. We further acknowledge OWI-lab ( ) for supporting with the wind farm dataset to develop this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Offshore wind farm
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • Bayesian neural network
  • Uncertainty quantification


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