Evaluating commercial feasibility of a new tall wind tower design concept using a stochastic levelized cost of energy model
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© 2019 Wind power generation has seen a dramatic increase in the 21st century and the Department of Energy (DOE) envisions that wind energy will become a much larger part of overall power generation in the U.S. by 2050. Wind turbines have continued to grow in size during the last few decades with towers commonly built at a height of 80 m for typical utility-scale turbines in the Unites States, and this is accompanied by certain transportation and logistics challenges. The newly proposed tall tower technology has been designed to be cost-effective in assembling towers as high as 140 m from precast concrete module components that are capable of transport on the U.S. road system. This paper presents an alternative wind tower design with potential for reducing the overall levelized cost of energy (LCOE); it evaluates a hexagonal precast concrete wind tower solution that facilitates use of a taller wind turbine generator for harvesting stronger, steadier, and more frequent wind resources to increase wind energy production and lower the overall LCOE. An integrated team of industry experts was consulted to support development of a stochastic life cycle cost model using a parametric estimate of the cost and fabrication and assembly schedules of this new wind tower design concept as well as forecasting the projected revenue to be created by the new technology. The study concludes that this new design concept is a commercially viable solution, with an estimated LCOE savings ranging from 2% to 4% compared with the typical 80 m turbine deployed in the United States, and it also provides wind power potential to previously untapped regions in the country. This paper helps to inform energy developers, manufacturers, and policy makers, both regionally and nationally, of a possible economically feasible wind tower design solution.
author list (cited authors)
Barutha, P., Nahvi, A., Cai, B., Jeong, H. D., & Sritharan, S.