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Study on the next generation of large wind turbines

Objective

To investigate the economic prospects for large wind turbines with respect to the favourable technical concepts and the optimum sizes. This is mainly to advise the Commission in the forthcoming Research and Development activities for large wind turbines.
The economic prospects for large wind turbines (WT) have been investigated with respect to favourable technical concepts and optimum sizes. A survey and evaluation of the essential technical features of horizontal axis WTs has been performed as the first consideration is the interdependency of optimum size and technical concept.

On the basis of this technical analysis a manufacturing cost analysis was carried out for the most promising technical approaches. The cost analysis is performed by using analytically and statistically based cost models. These cost models estimate the manufacturing costs by means of specific cost figures based on the masses and the technological complexity of the main components.

The final evaluation of the economics included all economical factors, the total costs for turn key installation as well as the operation and maintenance costs over the lifetime. Of particular interest were comparisons of single large machine installation and operation, and wind parks consisting of a large number of smaller units.

The main conclusion of the study is that the energy generating costs of wind turbines can be held at the same level within a range of rotor diameters from about 30 to 80 m. To avoid inferior economics for larger sizes, lightweight design elements proved to be very important. An optimum size of a WT cannot be based on fundamental physical considerations as it depends on the technology available, and can only be determined as the next reasonable step in the development.

A comprehensive report has been published. The main result of the study is that large WTs have the potential to become as cost effective in the future as the current best machines of medium size. Large WTs are also more suitable where there are siting constraints.
The aim of this study was to find out what the expected optimum size for the next generation of WEC's can be considering both the presently available knowledge from various developments, and the experience gained in the European Community. The results shall be used as a guideline to initiate and evaluate future projects in the follow-up programme to the present WEGA-programme.

A survey and evaluation of the essential technical features of horizontal axis WECs has been performed as the first consideration is the interdependency of optimum size and technical concept.

On the basis of this technical analysis a manufacturing cost analysis was carried out for the most promising technical approaches. The cost analysis is performed by using analytically and statistically based cost models. These cost models estimate the manufacturing costs by means of specific cost figures based on the masses and the technological complexity of the main components.

The final evaluation of the economics includes all economical factors, the total costs for turn-key installation as well as the O&M costs over the lifetime. Of particular interest here are comparisons of single large machine installation and operation, and wind parks consisting of a large number of smaller units.

The main conclusion of the study is that the energy generating costs of wind turbines can be held at the same level within a range of rotor diameters from about 30 to 80 m. To avoid inferior economics for larger sizes, lightweight design elements proved to be very important. An optimum size of a wind turbine cannot be based on fundamental physical considerations as it depends on the technology available, and can only be determined as the next reasonable step in the development.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

INSTITUT FUER SOLARE ENERGIEVERSORGUNGSTECHNIK E.V
Address
Koenigstor 59
Kassel
Germany

Participants (1)

UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
United Kingdom
Address
Ryhope Road, Langham Tower
SR27EE Sunderland