Uncertainties in the design of support structures and foundations for offshore wind turbines

Vicente Negro, José-Santos López-Gutiérrez, M. Dolores Esteban, and Clara Matutano – Renewable Energy, March 2014


Offshore wind industry has exponentially grown in the last years. Despite this growth, there are still many uncertainties in this field. This paper analyzes some current uncertainties in the offshore wind market, with the aim of going one step further in the development of this sector. To do this, some already identified uncertainties compromising offshore wind farm structural design have been identified and described in the paper. Examples of these identified uncertainties are the design of the transition piece and the difficulties for the soil properties characterization.

Furthermore, this paper deals with other uncertainties not identified yet due to the limited experience in the sector. To do that, current and most used offshore wind standards and recommendations related to the design of foundation and support structures (IEC 61400-1, 2005; IEC 61400-3, 2009; DNV-OS-J101, Design of Offshore Wind Turbine, 2013 and Rules and Guidelines Germanischer Lloyd, WindEnergie, 2005) have been analyzed. These new identified uncertainties are related to the lifetime and return period, loads combination, scour phenomenon and its protection, Morison – Froude Krilov and diffraction regimes, wave theory, different scale and liquefaction.

In fact, there are a lot of improvements to make in this field. Some of them are mentioned in this paper, but the future experience in the matter will make it possible to detect more issues to be solved and improved.



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Filed under Component Development, Sector Overview, Standards and Protocols

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