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Title: 2014 Cost of Wind Energy Review

Abstract

This report uses representative commercial projects to estimate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for both land-based and offshore wind plants in the United States for 2014. Scheduled to be published on an annual basis, the analysis relies on both market and modeled data to maintain an up-to-date understanding of wind generation cost trends and drivers. It is intended to provide insight into current component-level costs and a basis for understanding variability in the LCOE across the industry. Data and tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are used in this analysis to inform wind technology cost projections, goals, and improvement opportunities.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Water Technologies Office (EE-4W)
OSTI Identifier:
1225925
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-6A20-64281
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
17 WIND ENERGY; levelized cost of energy; wind plants; United States; data; cost projections; NREL

Citation Formats

Mone, Christopher, Stehly, Tyler, Maples, Ben, and Settle, Edward. 2014 Cost of Wind Energy Review. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.2172/1225925.
Mone, Christopher, Stehly, Tyler, Maples, Ben, & Settle, Edward. 2014 Cost of Wind Energy Review. United States. doi:10.2172/1225925.
Mone, Christopher, Stehly, Tyler, Maples, Ben, and Settle, Edward. Thu . "2014 Cost of Wind Energy Review". United States. doi:10.2172/1225925. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1225925.
@article{osti_1225925,
title = {2014 Cost of Wind Energy Review},
author = {Mone, Christopher and Stehly, Tyler and Maples, Ben and Settle, Edward},
abstractNote = {This report uses representative commercial projects to estimate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for both land-based and offshore wind plants in the United States for 2014. Scheduled to be published on an annual basis, the analysis relies on both market and modeled data to maintain an up-to-date understanding of wind generation cost trends and drivers. It is intended to provide insight into current component-level costs and a basis for understanding variability in the LCOE across the industry. Data and tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are used in this analysis to inform wind technology cost projections, goals, and improvement opportunities.},
doi = {10.2172/1225925},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2015},
month = {Thu Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2015}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The rapid development of wind power that the United States has experienced over the last several years has been coupled with a growing concern that wind development will require substantial additions to the nation's transmission infrastructure. Transmission is particularly important for wind power due to the locational dependence of wind resources, the relatively low capacity factor of wind plants, and the mismatch between the short lead time to build a new wind project and the longer lead time often needed to plan, permit, and construct transmission. It is clear that institutional issues related to transmission planning, siting, and cost allocationmore » will pose major obstacles to accelerated wind power deployment, but also of concern is the potential cost of this infrastructure build out. Simply put, how much extra cost will society bear to deliver wind power to load centers? Without an answer to this question, there can be no consensus on whether or not the cost of developing transmission for wind will be a major barrier to further wind deployment, or whether the institutional barriers to transmission expansion are likely to be of more immediate concern. In this report, we review a sample of 40 detailed transmission studies that have included wind power. These studies cover a broad geographic area, and were completed from 2001-2008. Our primary goal in reviewing these studies is to develop a better understanding of the transmission costs needed to access growing quantities of wind generation. A secondary goal is to gain a better appreciation of the differences in transmission planning approaches in order to identify those methodologies that seem most able to estimate the incremental transmission costs associated with wind development. Finally, we hope that the resulting dataset and discussion might be used to inform the assumptions, methods, and results of higher-level assessment models that are sometimes used to estimate the cost of wind deployment (e.g. NEMS and WinDS). The authors and general location of the 40 detailed transmission studies included in our review are illustrated in Figure ES-1. As discussed in the body of the report, these studies vary considerably in scope, authorship, objectives, methodology, and tools. Though we recognize this diversity and are cognizant that comparisons among these studies are therefore somewhat inappropriate, we nonetheless emphasize such simple comparisons in this report. We do so in order to improve our understanding of the range of transmission costs needed to access greater quantities of wind, and to highlight some of the drivers of those costs. In so doing, we gloss over many important details and differences among the studies in our sample. In emphasizing simple comparisons, our analysis focuses primarily on the unit cost of transmission implied by each of the studies. The unit cost of transmission for wind in $/kW terms on a capacity-weighted basis is estimated by simply dividing the total transmission cost in a study by the total amount of incremental generation capacity (wind and non-wind) modeled in that study. In so doing, this metric assumes that within any individual study all incremental generation capacity imposes transmission costs in proportion to its nameplate capacity rating. The limitations to this approach are described in some detail in the body of the report.« less
  • This document provides a detailed description of NREL's levelized cost of wind energy equation, assumptions and results in 2010, including historical cost trends and future projections for land-based and offshore utility-scale wind.
  • This report describes the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for a typical land-based wind turbine installed in the United States in 2011, as well as the modeled LCOE for a fixed-bottom offshore wind turbine installed in the United States in 2011. Each of the four major components of the LCOE equation are explained in detail, such as installed capital cost, annual energy production, annual operating expenses, and financing, and including sensitivity ranges that show how each component can affect LCOE. These LCOE calculations are used for planning and other purposes by the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Program.
  • This report uses representative project types to estimate the levelized cost of wind energy (LCOE) in the United States for 2013. Scheduled to be published on an annual basis, it relies on both market and modeled data to maintain a current understanding of wind generation cost trends and drivers. It is intended to provide insight into current component-level costs and a basis for understanding current component-level costs and a basis for understanding variability in the LCOE across the industry. Data and tools developed from this analysis are used to inform wind technology cost projections, goals, and improvement opportunities.
  • This document provides a detailed description of NREL's levelized cost of wind energy equation, assumptions, and results in 2010, including historical cost trends and future projections for land-based and offshore utility-scale wind.