Offshore Design Optimization

Advancing technology, siting offshore turbines and wind farms, and reducing offshore wind’s cost of energy

Leveraging our rotor systems optimization capabilities in wind plants, we couple controls, loads and dynamics to optimal floating topologies, lowering the cost of energy of future coastal power plants. Sandia leads innovation inoffshore wind technology through:

  • Development of optimal topology for very large floating wind turbines in deep waters
  • Control integrated stability and force control with performance
  • High-fidelity platform design and optimization
  • Floating platform material optimization
  • Deep water mooring solutions
  • Extreme conditions and condition monitoring
  • Development of mid-fidelity offshore wind plant flow simulator
  • Resource assessment and characterization

Research Areas

Sandia applies decades of land-based wind experience to address the research challenges posed by offshore wind turbine siting and technology development. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s offshore wind program, we conduct research with two primary goals in mind: to reduce the technology risks associated with offshore wind power generation and to reduce the levelized cost of energy.

  • Floating Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
  • Large Offshore Rotor Development
  • Modeling Codes for Simulating Offshore Wind Farms
  • Structural Health & Prognostics Management
  • Sediment Transport & Scour Analysis

Learn how your organization can leverage Sandia’s expertise and resources to solve offshore wind challenges.

Innovative Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Estimates suggest that more than 2000 GW of wind energy are available offshore in water more than
60 meters deep. To access this tremendous energy resource, Sandia is developing and evaluating floating wind turbines.

In deep-water environments, vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have inherent advantages over horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs), including lower capital, operational, and maintenance costs. Sandia combines more than 35 years of applied research on VAWT technology and advanced analysis tools to design systems suitable for deep-water environments.

View our Floating Offshore VAWT project poster.

Read our Floating Offshore VAWT fact sheet.


What is the ExaWind software?

  • An open-source collection of codes for wind turbine and wind farm simulations
  • Downloadable here:
  • Multi-fidelity: actuator disk (low fidelity) to highest-fidelity full-blade-resolved simulations
  • Backed by rigorous verification and validation
  • Established with modern software engineering, with a focus on performance portability
  • Funded by multiple projects
  • Code development team spans multiple organizations (primarily NREL, Sandia, ORNL, and LBNL)

What are the goals of the ExaWind team?

  • Provide pathways to understanding wind plant physics and reducing wind plant losses
  • Enable generation of simulation data and knowledge foundations for the next-generation of design tools
  • Provide software tools for exploring disruptive wind energy generation technology innovations quickly and with confidence

Brandon Ennis, Offshore Design Optimization

Paul Crozier, ExaWind