Reliability analysis for wind turbines with incomplete failure data collected from after the date of initial installation

Reliability has an impact on wind energy project costs and benefits. Both life test data and field failure data can be used for reliability analysis. In wind energy industry, wind farm operators have greater interest in recording wind turbine operating data. However, field failure data may be tainted or incomplete, and therefore it needs a more general mathematical model and algorithms to solve the model. The aim of this paper is to provide a solution to this problem. A three-parameter Weibull failure rate function is discussed for wind turbines and the parameters are estimated by maximum likelihood and least squares. Two populations of German and Danish wind turbines are analyzed. The traditional Weibull failure rate function is also employed for comparison. Analysis shows that the three-parameter Weibull function can obtain more accuracy on reliability growth of wind turbines. This work will be helpful in the understanding of the reliability growth of wind energy systems as wind energy technologies evolving. The proposed three-parameter Weibull function is also applicable to the life test of the components that have been used for a period of time, not only in wind energy but also in other industries.