IEC 61400

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IEC 61400 is an international standard published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) regarding wind turbines.

Purpose and function[edit]

IEC 61400 is a set of design requirements made to ensure that wind turbines are appropriately engineered against damage from hazards within the planned lifetime. The standard concerns most aspects of the turbine life from site conditions before construction, to turbine components being tested,[1] assembled and operated.

Wind turbines are capital intensive, and are usually purchased before they are being erected and commissioned.

Some of these standards provide technical conditions verifiable by an independent, third party, and as such are necessary in order to make business agreements so wind turbines can be financed and erected.[1]

IEC started standardizing international certification on the subject in 1995, and the first standard appeared in 2001.[1]

The common set of standards sometimes replace the various national standards, forming a basis for global certification.[1]

Small wind turbines are defined as being of up to 200 m2 swept area and a somewhat simplified IEC 61400-2 standard addresses these. It is also possible to use the IEC 61400-1 standard for turbines of less than 200 m2 swept area.

The standards for loads and noise are used in the development of prototypes at the Østerild Wind Turbine Test Field.[2]


IEC, API, ISO etc. standards used to certify US offshore wind turbines

In the U.S., standards are intended to be compatible with IEC standards,[3] and some parts of 61400 are required documentation.[4][5]

The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory participates in IEC standards development work,[3][6] and tests equipment according to these standards.[7] For U.S. offshore turbines however, more standards are needed, and the most important are :

  • ISO 19900, General requirements for offshore structures
  • ISO 19902, Fixed steel offshore structures
  • ISO 19903, Fixed concrete offshore structures
  • ISO 19904-1, Floating offshore structures – mono-hulls, semisubmersibles and spars
  • ISO 19904-2, Floating offshore structures - tension-leg platforms
  • API RP 2A-WSD, Recommended practice for planning, designing and constructing fixed offshore steel platforms - working stress design.[8]

In Canada, the previous national standards were outdated and impeded the wind industry, and they were updated and harmonized with 61400 by the Canadian Standards Association with several modifications.[9][10]

An update for IEC 61400 is scheduled for 2016.[11]

For small wind turbines the global industry has been working towards harmonisation of certification requirements with a "test once, certify everywhere" objective. Considerable co-operation has been taking place between UK, USA, and more recently Japan, Denmark and other countries so that the IEC 61400-2 standard as interpreted within e.g. the MCS certification scheme (of UK origin) is interoperable with the USA (for example where it corresponds to an AWEA small wind turbine standard) and other countries.

Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) classes[edit]

Wind turbines are designed for specific conditions. During the construction and design phase assumptions are made about the wind climate that the wind turbines will be exposed to. Turbine wind class is just one of the factors needing consideration during the complex process of planning a wind power plant. Wind classes determine which turbine is suitable for the normal wind conditions of a particular site. Turbine classes are determined by three parameters - the average wind speed, extreme 50-year gust, and turbulence.[12]

Turbulence intensity quantifies how much the wind varies typically within 10 minutes. Because the fatigue loads of a number of major components in a wind turbine are mainly caused by turbulence, the knowledge of how turbulent a site is of crucial importance. Normally the wind speed increases with increasing height due to vertical wind shear. In flat terrain the wind speed increases logarithmically with height. In complex terrain the wind profile is not a simple increase and additionally a separation of the flow might occur, leading to heavily increased turbulence.[13]

Wind Class/Turbulence Annual average wind speed at hub-height Extreme 50-year gust
Ia High wind - Higher Turbulence 18% 10 metres per second (36 km/h; 22 mph) 70 metres per second (250 km/h; 160 mph)
Ib High wind - Lower Turbulence 16% 10 metres per second (36 km/h; 22 mph) 70 metres per second (250 km/h; 160 mph)
IIa Medium wind - Higher Turbulence 18% 8.5 metres per second (31 km/h; 19 mph) 59.5 metres per second (214 km/h; 133 mph)
IIb Medium wind - Lower Turbulence 16% 8.5 metres per second (31 km/h; 19 mph) 59.5 metres per second (214 km/h; 133 mph)
IIIa Low wind - Higher Turbulence 18% 7.5 metres per second (27 km/h; 17 mph) 52.5 metres per second (189 km/h; 117 mph)
IIIb Low wind - Lower Turbulence 16% 7.5 metres per second (27 km/h; 17 mph) 52.5 metres per second (189 km/h; 117 mph)
IV 6.0 metres per second (22 km/h; 13 mph) 42 metres per second (150 km/h; 94 mph)

The extreme wind speeds are based on the 3 second average wind speed. Turbulence is measured at 15 m/s wind speed. This is the definition in IEC 61400-1 edition 2.

For U.S. waters however, several hurricanes have already exceeded wind class Ia with speeds above the 70 m/s (156 mph), and efforts are being made to provide suitable standards.[8] In 2021, TÜV SÜD developed a standard to simulate a new wind class T1 for tropical cyclones.[14]

List of IEC 61400 parts[edit]

  • IEC 61400-1:2005+AMD1:2010 Design requirements
  • IEC 61400-2:2013 Small wind turbines
  • IEC 61400-3:2019 Design requirements for offshore wind turbines
  • IEC 61400-4:2012 Design requirements for wind turbine gearboxes
  • IEC 61400-6:2020 Tower and foundation design requirements
  • IEC 61400-11:2012 Acoustic noise measurement techniques
  • IEC 61400-12-1:2005 Power performance measurements of electricity producing wind turbines[15]
  • IEC 61400-12-2:2013/COR1:2016 Power performance of electricity-producing wind turbines based on nacelle anemometry / Corrigendum 1
  • IEC 61400-12-1:2017 Power performance measurements of electricity producing wind turbines / Remote sensing devices like Sodar & lidar measurements[16]
  • IEC 61400-13:2015 Measurement of mechanical loads
  • IEC TS 61400-14:2005 Declaration of apparent sound power level and tonality values
  • IEC 61400-21:2008 Measurement and assessment of power quality characteristics of grid connected wind turbines
  • IEC 61400-22:2010 Conformity testing and certification (IEC 61400-22:2010 was withdrawn on 2018-08-31, and replaced with the deliverables for the wind sector (WE-OMC) contained in the IECRE Conformity Assessment System.)
  • IEC 61400-23:2014 Full-scale structural testing of rotor blades
  • IEC 61400-24:2010 Lightning protection
  • IEC 61400-25-1:2006 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Overall description of principles and models
  • IEC 61400-25-2:2015 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Information models
  • IEC 61400-25-3:2015 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Information exchange models
  • IEC 61400-25-4:2008 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Mapping to communication profile
  • IEC 61400-25-5:2006 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Conformance testing
  • IEC 61400-25-6:2010 Communications for monitoring and control of wind power plants - Logical node classes and data classes for condition monitoring
  • IEC TS 61400-26-1:2011 Time-based availability for wind turbine generating systems
  • IEC TS 61400-26-2:2014 Production-based availability for wind turbines
  • IEC 61400-27-1:2015 Electrical simulation models - Wind turbines

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Woebbeking, Mike. "IEC TS 61400-22" pages 1-2 and 9 Germanischer Lloyd, 2008. Accessed: 12 March 2011. Archive
  2. ^ Østerild brochure, page 8
  3. ^ a b Dodge, Darrell M. "Development of Wind Industry Consensus Standards" National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 27 February 1996. Retrieved: 16 August 2012. Quote: "U.S. standards must be compatible with IEC standards"
  4. ^ "IEC 61400-22 Required Design Documentation".
  5. ^ IEC 61400-22 Required Design Documentation National Renewable Energy Laboratory Archived 2011-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ NREL's technical role in standards development National Renewable Energy Laboratory Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Accredited Testing" National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved: 16 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b Musial, W. D.; Sheppard, R. E.; Dolan, D.; Naughton, B. "Development of Offshore Wind Recommended Practice for U.S. Waters" Intro page National Renewable Energy Laboratory, April 2013. Accessed: 20 November 2013. OSTI 1078076
  9. ^ "Updated standards propel wind energy development" page 23, Natural Resources Canada 2010. Retrieved: 16 August 2012. Quote: "previous Canadian standards were an impediment to the industry" .. "harmonized them with the IEC standards"
  10. ^ "Search Engine| Natural Resources Canada". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Kæmpemøller får ny håndbog i Takt og Tone". EnergiWatch. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 7 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Wind project planning: Wind turbine classes" Vestas. Accessed October 2011.
  13. ^ Langreder, Wiebke. "Siting of Wind Farms: Basic Aspects" Suzlon Energy. Accessed October 2011.
  14. ^ "TÜV SÜD provides certification of wind turbines for regions impacted by tropical storms". 8 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Wind turbine power performance data - Wind power curve". SgurrEnergy. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  16. ^ "New standard bolsters lidars". ReNews. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.

External links[edit]