Carnegie Mellon University

The following on-shore and off-shore wind energy resouces provide background information and suggested links for data in global energy, economics, market trends, and frequently asked questions (FAQ). Two separate teams compiled the on-shore and off-shore parts of this resource: (Jal Desai, Pranav Goray, Griffin Harbach, Daniel Noriega, Akanksha Tyagi, Yuzhou Wang) and (Michelle Mann, Nicolas Cerquera, Pui Leelasvatanakij, Sakshi Mishra, Shashank Sripad, Yin Kay Wong).  2017 updates by Ashwin Kumar Balaji and 2018 updates by Pragya Chauhan.

The Global Wind Energy Council is a member based international organization that represents the entire world’s wind energy sector. It was established in 2005 to provide a credible and representative forum at an international level. The GWEC is a member-based organization that represents over 1500 companies, organizations and institutions in around 90 countries.

The 2016 report focuses on global wind generated power for the year 2016, market forecasts 2016-2021 and summarizes wind power penetration levels for different countries. It also consists of a list of top ten new installed capacities as well as the top ten global cumulative capacity. This report provides a comprehensive outline of the wind energy resources on a global and national scale and provides an overview of the future projections.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization to promote adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy. It was founded in 2009 and its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010. IRENA aims to become the main driving force in promoting a transition towards the use of renewable energy on a global scale. It provides advice and support to governments on renewable energy policy, capacity building, and technology transfer. IRENA will also co-ordinate with existing renewable energy organizations.  

Linked below is an all-inclusive report that highlights the wind industry in aspects like process & technology status, costs, potential and barriers. The detailed report also provides insights for policy makers in the industry. Additionally, it discusses the potential for cost reduction and different ways to achieve the reduction -

This report is disseminated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and focuses primarily on the United States of America.

This report provides an overview of developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market, with a particular focus on 2016. It provides several wind turbine-related trends, such as installation trends, technology trends, growth and cost trends. This is the key report to be focused on for wind energy industry trends and changes in the United States of America. The report also examines market and policy factors impacting the domestic wind industry, including federal and state policy as well as transmission and grid integration issues. Finally, it concludes with a preview of possible near-term market developments based on the findings of other analysts.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is an agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System that collects, analyzes, and disseminates energy-related information. The EIA published this report in February 2018 that presents forecasted values of average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for generating technologies being brought online in the U.S. in 2022, as well as average levelized avoided costs of electricity (LACE) and data ranges that encompass regional variations for both sets of costs.

These avoided costs are provided alongside the values of LCOE because, while LCOE can be used as a convenient metric for the average affordability of a specific electricity generating technology, the comparison of these values between different technologies is a misleading estimate of economic competitiveness due to wild variations in utilization rates, resource availability, and capacity factors from region to region. Rather, the difference between LACE and LCOE can be used as an indicator of whether an energy project’s cost can be expected to exceed its value, and these differences are a much more accurate measure of economic competitiveness when compared between generating technologies.

The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, as part of the U.S. Department of Energy, works to facilitate the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, as well as market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. This office publishes a report on the current state of distributed wind power generated by on-site turbines in the U.S.

In 2016, 2.4 MW of small wind (turbines up through 100 kW) was deployed in the United States, representing 2,560 units and over $14 million in investment. While overall capacity is down, unit sales have increased from 2015, mainly in the 10 kW and lower size range. This increase from 2015 is due in part to an increase in large, behind-the-meter turbine units powering industrial operations and municipalities.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), is a section within the United States’ Department of Energy that focuses on developing and deploying energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S energy security, environmental quality and economic vitality.

The link provided below contains information about the history, benefits and science of wind power-generation. It also addresses the current research and development areas that the U.S. government aims to foster to increase the deployment of wind-power generation turbines.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is a national trade association promoting wind energy as a clean source of electricity.  The AWEA website contains information regarding technical aspects of wind-power generation, detailed economic descriptions and information about each of state in The United States of America. A description of installed wind-power capacity, economic and environmental benefits for each state is given. The AWEA website compiles other articles related to wind-power generation technology. There is information about the problems and potential on a global scale as well.

This is the second chapter in the book titled “Fundamental and Advanced Topics in Wind Power” (Page 21- 38). This is a multidisciplinary open access book which is published by “InTech”.

This chapter covers the basics and theoretical aspects of wind energy. It also covers the various factors which affect the performance of the wind turbine and its designs. It also briefs about the devices and systems used in its conversion technology. A combinations of visuals are used in this chapter.

The report is presented by U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Efficiency & Renewable Energy. This market report covers the global future outlook of offshore wind up to 2016 by looking at future market and technology trends. Information on operating offshore turbines and the future market of offshore turbines can be found on pages 15-53. Information on future technology trends can be found on pages 70-82.

International wind speed maps and U.S. wind maps can be found at links below, respectively..

The Danish Wind Industry Association website explains the principle, components and working of a wind turbine. This link explains the principle on which wind turbines work.

The World Wind Energy Association publishes a half-yearly report with statistics for installed wind power capacity.

Pennsylvania has an installed capacity of 1,340 MW of wind power generation. It ranks  16th among the U.S. states for installed wind capacity.

 Practical utility-scale wind turbines achieve at peak 75% to 80% of the Betz limit (59.3%).  [Slide 7]

Offshore wind power refers to the construction of wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity from wind. Stronger wind speeds are available offshore compared to on land, so offshore wind power’s contribution in terms of electricity supplied is higher. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electricity, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land, and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are considerably higher.

In the future, developed countries will substantially expand their offshore wind project pipeline. China and the U.S. will be the major contributors in the market’s expansion with 15 000 MW and 7000 MW of announced commissioned installed capacity by 2020 respectively.  Figure 4 in page 24 of the Offshore Wind Technologies Report provides this information and also raises the question regarding the role of offshore wind in developing countries. Currently, developed countries are addressing this technology. [page #24]

Betz’ Law or the theoretical limit for turning wind energy into mechanical energy is 59% conversion and is heavily dependent on factors like turbulence and air density at a given location. Additionally, wind does not blow all the time. This is called intermittency. Because of intermittency, the power the wind will produce can fluctuate, decreasing the capacity factor of a wind power facility. Luckily some of these effects are less of an issue for offshore turbines in the ocean. However, even after converting the wind energy into mechanical energy, it still has to be converted into electrical energy by a generator, which presents even more losses from effects like slipping and friction. Because losses from factors such as turbulence, intermittency and friction, wind turbine efficiency does not reach Betz’ Law. The sources below provide more information about wind turbine efficiency and how it affects power output.
[Turbine Siting, Generators-Variable Slip, Energy Output-Betz’ Law, Energy Output-The Power Calculator, Turbine Design-Optimizing Turbines] [Page 653]

According to the report Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis by Navigant (2014), capital installation cost of offshore wind is $2.86B for a 500 MW project or $5,700/kW. The economic viability of offshore wind depends on the location of a project, the existing energy market and policy incentives. Some of the economic benefits of offshore wind are:

  • An offshore location means that electricity can be generated and delivered to urban demand centers from as close as 6 to 10 miles away.
  • In urban areas, like densely populated cities along the East Coast, a congested electricity grid, lack of suitable land for onshore wind, and high electricity prices make offshore wind relatively more attractive.
  • Offshore winds blow faster, more consistently and with less turbulence than onshore winds and can generate electricity more efficiently.
(Page 103-104 – detailed cost breakdown)

The cost structure of offshore wind power plant can be considered in two parts: capital cost and operation and maintenance (O&M) cost. The capital cost is the most significant portion, with offshore wind turbines themselves accounting for 84% of the total investment costs (EWEA, 2009). A breakdown of offshore wind power plant can be illustrated as follows.

  • * Turbine system 51%
  • * Foundation and Installation 27%
  • * Transmission 13%
  • * Array cabling 7%
  • * Others 2%

As seen, the turbine system is defined as the primary cost driver. Most of it comes from the steel material that utilized to construct rotor, tower, and supporting structure. The O&M cost is estimated to be in the 11%-30% range of the LCOE.

Offshore wind technologies have substantially higher potential for harvesting wind compared to onshore wind technologies. Wind speed is the major factor contributing to the potential difference. NOAA’s interactive website is an excellent tool to assess wind speed potentials in terms of altitude and the location. It can also be used for live regional comparison and overall assessment of offshore and onshore wind potentials. This tool enables the user to go back in time and perform time average data analysis.