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 link and content updates were provided by Ashwin Kumar Balaji.

The Global Wind Energy Council is an international trade association for the wind industry. 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 more than 80 countries.

The 2015 report focuses on the global wind power in 2015, market forecasts for 2016-2020 and provides a detailed summary of each country’s situation with regards to wind energy. Information about each country can be found on the interactive content page. The section for each country includes the wind energy market in 2015, latest policy development barriers for wind energy development and outlook for 2016 and beyond. This report provides a comprehensive overview of wind energy resources on a global and national scale and provides credible projects for the wind energy industry’s future.

The International Energy Agency is an independent organization that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for the 29 member countries. The IEA was initially founded in 1974 to help countries coordinate a collective response to disruptions in oil supplies. The IEA has now expanded to four key areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and worldwide engagement.
This is a comprehensive report that begins with the progress in wind industry, the vision for deployment and the global CO2 abatement trends and goals. This is a detailed study of the technological development in the wind industry. There is an analysis of the economic and political arena of the wind industry called ‘policy, finance, public acceptance and international collaboration: actions and time frames’. The report ends with a brief roadmap action plan to meet the global CO2 emissions goals, which encapsulates the different aspects discussed in the report.

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

The focus of this report is to address the energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technologies to ensure national security and prosperity. It provides several wind turbine-related trends, such as installation trends, technology trends 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 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published this report in January 2017 that presents forecasted values of average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for generating technologies being brought online in the U.S. in 2020, 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.

These values for the onshore wind development specifically can be found in the four tables provided in the report. The EIA is an agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System that collects, analyzes, and disseminates energy-related information.

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.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy published a report in 2015 on the current state of distributed wind power generated by on-site turbines in the U.S.

In 2015, 4.3 MW of small wind (turbines up through 100 kW) was deployed in the United States, representing 1,695 units and over $21 million in investment. This is slightly higher than in 2014 (3.7 MW of small wind, approximately 1,600 units, and $20 million in investment), but down from 2013 (5.6 MW, approximately 2,700 units, and $36 million investment). U.S. small wind manufacturers accounted for nearly 100% of 2015 domestic small wind sales.

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 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a federal laboratory in the United States dedicated to the research and development of renewable energy technologies. This market report covers the global future outlook of offshore wind up to 2015 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 21-24. Information on future technology trends can be found on pages 47-50.

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.