Decommissioning of world’s first offshore wind farm offers an opportunity to see how industry costs have changed over the past 25 years.
Guest essay by T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, CAPT, USN (ret.)
Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm
The first offshore windfarm in the world has just been decommissioned and is now being torn down ( http://www.windpoweroffshore.com/article/1427436/dong-begins-vindeby-decommissioning-pictures ). Its lifetime performance specs are illuminating in comparison with recent wind industry data, and alternative generation options.
1991 Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm – Denmark
Years of Operation: 1991-2016 (25)
Capital Cost: 75M Kroner = $13M (1991USD) = $23M (2017USD)
Number of Turbines: 11 @ 450 kW
Lifetime Generation: 243 GWh
Nameplate Capacity: 4.9 MW
Average Power Output: 1.1 MW
Cost/Nampepate Capacity: $2.65/Watt (1991USD), $4.7/Watt (2017USD)
Lifetime Capacity Factor: 22%
Cost/Effective Output: $12/Watt (1991USD), $21/Watt (2017USD)
Levelized Capital Cost: $53/MWh (1991USD), $95/MWh (2017USD)
Levelized VOM Cost: $65/MWh (Estimated using $130/kw-hr industry figures for 2015)
Lower Bound of LCOE: $160/MWh (2017USD)
Cost/Nameplate Capacity: $5/Watt
Capacity Factor: 40%
Cost/Effective Output: $12.5/Watt
O&M Costs: $130/kW-yr
Lower bound of LCOE: $150/MWh (2015USD), $154/MWh (2017USD)
1. While turbines are getting larger, able to operate at lower wind speeds, and improving their capacity factors, the total lifecycle cost per unit of energy provided from offshore wind has not perceptibly decreased from 1991 to 2015. Higher costs of O&M for larger turbines farther offshore seems to consume savings from higher capacity factors.
2. As it is uncontrollably variable and weather dependent, offshore wind generation remains uncompetitive with gas and coal which are half the cost (~ $70/MWh LCOE) while providing fully dispatchable and weather-independent power that is of much higher value to a power grid.
NOTE: Somehow, the original posting got deleted. I’m unsure how this happened. Unfortunately, comments that were linked to it disappeared as well. This is the second posting recovered from the original source. -Anthony