Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Karen B. Marais

Committee Chair

Karen B. Marais

Committee Member 1

William A. Crossley

Committee Member 2

Douglas E. Adams


Wind turbine maintenance is emerging as an unexpectedly high component of turbine operating cost, and there is an increasing interest in managing this cost. This thesis presents an alternative view of maintenance as a value-driver, and develops an optimization algorithm to evaluate the value delivered by different maintenance techniques. I view maintenance as an operation that moves the turbine to an improved state in which it can generate more power and, thus, earn more revenue. To implement this approach, I model the stochastic deterioration of the turbine in two dimensions: the deterioration rate, and the extent of deterioration, and then use maintenance to improve the state of the turbine. The value of the turbine is the difference between the revenue from to the power generation and the costs incurred in operation and maintenance. With a focus on blade deterioration, I evaluate the value delivered by implementing two different maintenance schemes, predictive maintenance and scheduled maintenance. An example of predictive maintenance technique is the use of Condition Monitoring Systems to precisely detect deterioration. I model Condition Monitoring System (CMS) of different degrees of fidelity, where a higher fidelity CMS would allow the blade state to be determined with a higher precision. The same model is then applied for the scheduled maintenance technique. The improved state information obtained from these techniques is then used to derive an optimal maintenance strategy. The difference between the value of the turbine with and without the inspection type can be interpreted as the value of the inspection. The results indicate that a higher fidelity (and more expensive) inspection method does not necessarily yield the highest value, and, that there is an optimal level of fidelity that results in maximum value. The results also aim to inform the operator of the impact of regional parameters such as wind speed, variance and maintenance costs to the optimal maintenance strategy. The contributions of this work are twofold. First, I present a practical approach to wind turbine valuation that takes operating and market conditions into account. This work should therefore be useful to wind farm operators, investors and decision makers. Second, I show how the value of a maintenance scheme can be explicitly assessed for different conditions.