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Task 26 – Work Plan


Task 26 was initiated in January 2009 and continues for three years through 2011. The project is divided into three work packages.

Work Package #1 - Develop transparent methodology for estimating cost of wind energy and identify major cost drivers

Providing transparency in the cost elements of wind projects among all participating countries will result in better understanding of the cost drivers of wind technology and the reasons for differences among participating countries.  Development of a simple spreadsheet model that represents the major elements of wind project costs will result in a tool that could be used by IEA or others in estimating wind project costs.  The model inputs and methodology will be clearly defined and documented.  A representative set of input parameters specific to each participating country will be collected.  This data should represent typical costs and project performance for proposed or installed projects, for both land-based and offshore wind technology.  Manufacturers, developers, and other wind industry participants should be engaged to obtain these representative costs.  Methods such as surveys or interviews could be used.  Based on this common set of data from each participating country, assumptions for a generic estimate of wind energy costs will be determined.  Each participant will provide documentation of their representative cost data as well as quantify the differences between their country’s cost structure and that of the generic model.  A report will summarize these results providing insight into the different cost drivers for each participating country.

Work Package #2 - Estimate future cost and performance of land-based and offshore wind projects

Estimates of future cost and performance for wind technology are important for analyses of the potential for wind energy to meet national targets for carbon emission reductions or renewable electricity generation.  Learning curves are one method for assessing the effect of technology development, manufacturing efficiency improvement, and economy of scale.  Component level cost and scaling relationships can also be used to estimate future technology development pathways.  While costs have decreased since the early 1980’s recent trends indicate rising costs that have been attributed to tight supply, commodity price increases, and other influences.  These effects may continue in the future, and it’s important to identify the contribution of such market influences to wind technology costs.  These effects, and their relation to technology advances, should be incorporated into methods to project future costs and performance for wind technology.  A thorough assessment of the effect of wind technology changes such as increased generator size, larger rotors, and taller towers over the past decade will help inform the use of learning curves and engineering models to develop future cost and performance trajectories.

Work Package #3 – Survey methods for evaluating the value of wind energy

Wind energy technology ultimately operates in an electric system that includes conventional and other alternative electricity generation technologies.  Wind energy technology adds value to a system in a number of ways including reducing carbon emission, diversifying fuel supply and providing stable energy production prices.  Various methods and approaches are used to quantify these impacts of wind energy deployment.  This work package will provide a summary of these concepts and approaches.