Technical and economic analysis of US offshore wind power
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Wind power is the fastest growing sector of electricity generation in the world and the development of offshore wind resources is an increasingly important component of this growth. While more than 1.5GW have been installed in Europe and China, no turbines have been installed in United States waters even though several have been planned. Offshore wind power development in the United States must contend with significant challenges. There are numerous technical considerations including geological issues and undefined environmental conditions that affect the determination of appropriate design loads. Technological advancements are needed, and logistical questions must be addressed. The regulatory structure can be confusing and most permitting frameworks are not well established. Offshore wind projects are capital intensive and concerns exist that the industry will not be able to achieve a suitable economy of scale. Additionally, concerns about offshore wind impacts cross many areas such as the environment, visual and cultural concerns, navigational issues, and competing uses. This research project examines the technical issues of American offshore wind power and models basic project costs to provide an estimate of the total net present value for hypothetical utility-scale offshore wind projects in the United States. Costs have been examined by building a cost model and employing traditional cash flow analysis, regression, design of experiments, and random sampling techniques.
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