2010. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
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Several leases have been granted for the development of wind power in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. This paper reviews the wind resource potential in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and the need for meteorological data collection. Furthermore, a review of the current wind turbine technology is presented with an emphasis on suitability for hurricane-prone areas. An examination of the GOM bathymetry and current support structures needed to develop wind power in the region is presented. Hurricane risk in the GOM, with emphasis in ways to assess the wind and wave risk to offshore wind structures is introduced. A coupled metocean methodology is presented for extreme hurricane conditions. The need for wind turbine optimized designs is discussed with the challenge to use independent extreme hurricane events to determine design loads from extrapolation of load effects. Previous investigations sponsored by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) suggest that the higher variability (coefficients of variation) in the estimation of hurricane intensities results in lower structural reliabilities. The applicability of this statement for the US coast is evaluated.
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