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Influence of structural design variations on economic viability of offshore wind turbines: An interdisciplinary analysis
- Hübler, Clemens, Piel, Jan-Hendrik, Stetter, Chris, Gebhardt, Cristian G., Breitner, Michael H., Rolfes, Raimund
- Renewable energy 2020 v.145 pp. 1348-1360
- blades, capital, cost effectiveness, economic impact, economic sustainability, electricity, models, wind farms, wind power, wind turbines
- Offshore wind energy is a seminal technology to achieve the goals set for renewable energy deployment. However, today's offshore wind energy projects are mostly not yet sufficiently competitive. The optimization of offshore wind turbine substructures with regard to costs and reliability is a promising approach to increase competitiveness. Today, interdisciplinary analyses considering sophisticated engineering models and their complex economic effects are not widespread. Existing approaches are deterministic. This research gap is addressed by combining an aero-elastic wind turbine model with an economic viability model for probabilistic investment analyses. The impact of different monopile designs on the stochastic cost-efficiency of an offshore wind farm is investigated. Monopiles are varied with regard to diameters and wall thicknesses creating designs with increased lifetimes but higher capital expenditures (durable designs) and vice versa (cheaper designs). For each substructure, the aero-elastic wind turbine model yields distributions for the fatigue lifetime and electricity yield and different capital expenditures, which are applied to the economic viability model. For other components, e.g. blades, constant lifetimes and costs are assumed. The results indicate that the gain of increased stochastic lifetimes exceeds the benefit of reduced initial costs, if the overall lifetime is not governed by other turbine components' lifetimes.