Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pricing offshore wind power
Abstract: Offshore wind offers a very large clean power resource, but electricity from the first US offshore wind contracts is costlier than current regional wholesale electricity prices. To better understand the factors that drive these costs, we develop a pro-forma cash flow model to calculate two results: the levelized cost of energy, and the breakeven price required for financial viability. We then determine input values based on our analysis of capital markets and of 35 operating and planned projects in Europe, China, and the United States. The model is run for a range of inputs appropriate to US policies, electricity markets, and capital markets to assess how changes in policy incentives, project inputs, and financial structure affect the breakeven price of offshore wind power. The model and documentation are made publicly available.

► We calculate the Breakeven Price (BP) required to deploy offshore wind plants.
► We determine values for cost drivers and review incentives structures in the US.
► We develop 3 scenarios using today's technology but varying in industry experience.
► BP differs widely by Cost Scenario; relative policy effectiveness varies by stage.
► The low-range BP is below regional market values in the Northeast United States.

by Andrew C., Levitt 1, Willett Kempton 1, Aaron P. Smith 2, Walt Musial 2 and Jeremy Firestone 1
1. Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
2 National Wind Technology Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden CO 80401, USA
Energy Policy via Elsevier Science Direct
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 16 August 2011

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