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Title: Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the 'Specific Power' Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States

Abstract

A wind turbine's 'specific power' rating relates its capacity to the swept area of its rotor in terms of Watt per square meter. For a given generator capacity, specific power declines as rotor size increases. In land-rich but capacity-constrained wind power markets, such as the United States, developers have an economic incentive to maximize megawatt-hours per constrained megawatt, and so have favored turbines with ever-lower specific power. To date, this trend toward lower specific power has pushed capacity factors higher while reducing the levelized cost of energy. We employ geospatial levelized cost of energy analysis across the United States to explore whether this trend is likely to continue. We find that under reasonable cost scenarios (i.e. presuming that logistical challenges from very large blades are surmountable), low-specific-power turbines could continue to be in demand going forward. Beyond levelized cost of energy, the boost in market value that low-specific-power turbines provide could become increasingly important as wind penetration grows.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  2. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (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:
1598970
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5000-74817
DOE Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Wind Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Wind Engineering
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
17 WIND ENERGY; specific power; levelized cost of energy; capacity factor; turbine design; long blades; large rotors; economics; geospatial modeling

Citation Formats

Bolinger, Mark, Lantz, Eric J, Wiser, Ryan, Hoen, Ben, Rand, Joseph, and Hammond, Robert E. Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the 'Specific Power' Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1177/0309524X19901012.
Bolinger, Mark, Lantz, Eric J, Wiser, Ryan, Hoen, Ben, Rand, Joseph, & Hammond, Robert E. Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the 'Specific Power' Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States. United States. doi:10.1177/0309524X19901012.
Bolinger, Mark, Lantz, Eric J, Wiser, Ryan, Hoen, Ben, Rand, Joseph, and Hammond, Robert E. Sat . "Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the 'Specific Power' Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States". United States. doi:10.1177/0309524X19901012.
@article{osti_1598970,
title = {Opportunities for and Challenges to Further Reductions in the 'Specific Power' Rating of Wind Turbines Installed in the United States},
author = {Bolinger, Mark and Lantz, Eric J and Wiser, Ryan and Hoen, Ben and Rand, Joseph and Hammond, Robert E},
abstractNote = {A wind turbine's 'specific power' rating relates its capacity to the swept area of its rotor in terms of Watt per square meter. For a given generator capacity, specific power declines as rotor size increases. In land-rich but capacity-constrained wind power markets, such as the United States, developers have an economic incentive to maximize megawatt-hours per constrained megawatt, and so have favored turbines with ever-lower specific power. To date, this trend toward lower specific power has pushed capacity factors higher while reducing the levelized cost of energy. We employ geospatial levelized cost of energy analysis across the United States to explore whether this trend is likely to continue. We find that under reasonable cost scenarios (i.e. presuming that logistical challenges from very large blades are surmountable), low-specific-power turbines could continue to be in demand going forward. Beyond levelized cost of energy, the boost in market value that low-specific-power turbines provide could become increasingly important as wind penetration grows.},
doi = {10.1177/0309524X19901012},
journal = {Wind Engineering},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}

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