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Offshore Wind. Geoff Sharples [email protected] Frequently Unanswered Questions. Why don’t “they” build more offshore wind? Why not make the blades bigger? How big will turbines get?. Offshore Resource is Good. The Market Drivers Converge. New offshore exceeds new onshore.

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Offshore wind

Offshore Wind

Geoff Sharples

[email protected]

Frequently unanswered questions
Frequently Unanswered Questions

  • Why don’t “they” build more offshore wind?

  • Why not make the blades bigger?

  • How big will turbines get?

The market drivers converge
The Market Drivers Converge

New offshore exceeds new


Wind ventures further offshore
Wind ventures further offshore huddled at 20x20

To a shore based observer a 90m nacelle is below the horizon at 35 km

To a shore based observer a wind farm appears as white stripe at 20km

Interactive map at

Source: EWEA Oceans of Opportunity 2009


Power prices higher in coastal states
Power Prices Higher in Coastal States huddled at 20x20

Cape Wind PPA at 18 c/kWh

The cycle of non innovation
The cycle of non-innovation huddled at 20x20

Capital intensity curtails innovation


Offshore turbines today :

Modified onshore turbines

Confined to shallow water

Incumbents: understand the technical issues Have a vested interest in existing supply chains and facilities.

Human customers demand cheap reliable power

Project Financiers are risk averse

Offshore wind: Close to load

Far from view

Large Resource


Developer tech risk averse


Incumbents fund evolutionary design

Utilities are risk averse


Entrepreneurs can’t fund revolutionary prototypes

Cost of energy
Cost of energy huddled at 20x20

COE = (DR+IWF) x ICC + LRC + O&M


Where: COE = LevelizedCost of Energy ($/kWh) (constant dollars)

DR = Discount Rate (1/yr) = RISK Large Impact

IWF = Insurance, Warranty and Fees (1/yr)

ICC = Initial Installed Capital Cost ($) = TURCC+ BOSCC

TURCC = Turbine Capital Cost ($) Some Impact

BOSCC= Balance of System Capital Cost ($) Small? Impact

LRC = LevelizedReplacement/Overhaul Cost ($/yr) Med Impact

O&M = LevelizedO&M Cost ($/yr) Med Impact

AEPnet =Net Annual Energy Production (kWh/yr) Large Impact

Physical constraints
Physical Constraints huddled at 20x20

Swept Area R^2

Mechanical conversion efficiency

Rotor Power Coefficient

conversion wind to mechanical

(subject to Betz limit)

air density

U = wind speed

Design objectives
Design Objectives huddled at 20x20

  • Reduce Risk

  • Increase energy capture

  • Get to better resource

  • Reduce operations cost

  • Increase turbine capacity

Design areas
Design Areas huddled at 20x20

  • Blades

  • Towers

  • Generators

Rethink old ideas
Rethink old ideas huddled at 20x20

Frequently unanswered questions1
Frequently Unanswered Questions huddled at 20x20

  • Why don’t “they” build more offshore wind?

  • Why not make the blades bigger?

  • How big will turbines get?

FIN huddled at 20x20

Thank You