Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


2.1 CIVIL ENGINEERING, Construction engineering

Publication Details

Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland – BCRI 2012, 6 - 7 September 2012, Dublin, Ireland.


The deployment of wind energy has grown rapidly over the last two decades with an average annual growth rate of more than 26% since 1990. During this period the development and innovation of wind turbines has resulted in continual growth in wind turbine size with output ranges of 10-15MW likely to be deployed by 2020. This increased output has a knock-on effect on the growth of rotor diameters and tower heights. Wind turbine towers are required to become taller, stronger and stiffer in order to carry the increased weight and associated structural loading. Consequently, the dimensions of the tower cross-sections must be increased which results in manufacturing and transportation difficulties as well as increased material costs. Thus, this paper focuses on the development of wind energy technology over the last two decades and the optimisation techniques cited in current literature. From this, a multi-objective optimisation problem is defined as maximising the structural performance of wind turbine towers while simultaneously reducing the life cycle costs and emissions associated with electricity generation from wind. A multi-objective optimisation model based on a harmony search algorithm is presented. This model is proposed to be developed further in order to determine a set of optimal combinations known as Pareto optimal solutions, which will allow a trade-off between the life cycle costs and emissions. Findings from the continuing research are envisaged to support the deployment of large scale wind turbines both onshore and offshore from structurally more promising, economically more competitive and environmentally greener towers.