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2020 Wind Energy Update

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

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  • Jan 21, 2020

This item is part of the Predictions & Trends for 2020 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

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This paper contains several subjects. It starts with some “grand challenges” that wind power will face in the future. Following that we will briefly review technology improvements that have been made to small wind turbines. Finally we will review major projects throughout the world.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 21, 2020

Great stuff as always, John.

The expiration of the wind tax credits in the U.S. is certainly a big topic of discussion for the domestic wind industry-- do you think this will impact the penetration of wind energy an appreciable amount in the coming years? Or is the success of wind abroad that you note a sign that the industry will remain strong regardless of the tax actions?

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jan 21, 2020

Thanks for the comment, Matt.

I believe the latter both for Wind and PV+storage. The economics for both is becoming more pervasive every year. As indicated in this paper, the GE 12 MW offshore prototype is generating power, and it has been selected for the world's largest project (Dogger Bank, 3.6 GW, see section 4.2 in this paper). Siemens 11 MW (an uprating of their 10 MW scheduled for 2022) have been selected for the Hollandse Kust Zuid Project (1,460 MW, see section 4.1) . Although on-shore activity in the U.S. is still strong, the future is off-shore, while on-shore continues to move to larger turbines, and develop the optimizations suggested in section 2.

Next week’s post is mostly on PV, but also looks at economics, and compares renewable and gas-fueled generation (coal is there too, but renewables already beat it).


Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jan 21, 2020


Any thought on learning curve for off-shore wind? 

It looks like market size is nearing 10GW/year.

Wondering if anyone has done work on cost reduction for each doubling? or are these projects too "spread" out?


John Benson's picture
John Benson on Jan 23, 2020

Hi Joe:

Two possible learning curves: First the one described in this paper, section 2. Although this seemed to focus on onshore, the same work needs to be done for offshore, and the models required for this will be different, because the environment is different. A major part of "terra incognita" is nearby land masses and possibly shipping lanes. Also, what happens during storms.

Second: the learning curve to where the U.S. can deploy offshore at the same rate as the Europeans do. I was lucky enough to work on one of the (failed) early attempts by Siemens to develop an offshore project and much of the talent for this came from their European Operations.

Also, I noted that the pilot project for Dominion (also Siemens) "borrowed" a couple of specialized ships from the European Operation for the deployment. I'm sure this will be repeated en masse for the main deployment. I believe the pilot was mentioned in part 2 of "Off-Shore Wind Update" linked in the intro of this paper, and the main project was mentioned in this paper, section 4.1, second project.


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Thank John for the Post!
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