The Leading Edge: March 2020 Wind Energy Newsletter

Offshore wind anchors this edition of The Leading Edge as researchers unveil a new 15-megawatt (MW) offshore reference turbine and facilitate conversations between commercial fisheries and the offshore wind industry.

News Stories

New Reference Turbine Gives Offshore Wind an Updraft

As the offshore wind industry grows and evolves, engineers and designers need tools to develop better-performing, more cost-competitive wind turbines. Reference wind turbines—open-access designs of a complete wind turbine system that include supporting models for simulation and design—make it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of proposed modifications before prototype development. NREL released the International Energy Agency Wind Technology Collaboration Programme 15-MW reference turbine, now available on GitHub, which will provide industry, researchers, and academics with a public-domain modeling tool for designing next-generation offshore wind turbines.

NREL To Help New York Fishing Communities and Offshore Wind Farms Share the Seas

Offshore wind farms show great promise as major generators of renewable power in the United States. But the emerging offshore wind industry shares waters with commercial fishing communities that have earned their living in the area for centuries, raising concerns about operational interactions between the two industries. To address these concerns, NREL is partnering with the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance and Global Marine Group on a 2-year, $500,000 project to develop solutions to address commercial fishing access in U.S. offshore wind farms.

A field of turbines with an overcast sky.

Through a collaborative project funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NREL and its partners will gather data and develop solutions for minimizing conflict between commercial fishing communities and offshore wind farms. Photo by Soren Kjedgaard, NREL

Buoy Your Knowledge of Floating Offshore Wind with NREL Webinar

While floating wind energy systems have yet to be deployed at industrial scale, the floating offshore wind energy project pipeline is growing rapidly. The global pipeline for floating offshore wind energy reached 4,888 MW in 2018—and now comprises 38 announced projects, including 46 MW of operating projects. Join NREL's Walt Musial, one of the nation's foremost offshore wind experts, for a Feb. 26 webinar to learn more about floating offshore wind.

Downwind—In Case You Missed It

Competitiveness Improvement Project Notice of Intent

NREL intends to release a request for proposals under the Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) in early 2020. The CIP awards cost-shared subcontracts and technical support to manufacturers of small- and medium-sized wind turbines to optimize their designs, invest in advanced component development, implement advanced manufacturing processes, and help certify these turbine models. Visit the CIP web page for more information.

NREL 2019 Annual Technology Baseline Predicts Declining Wind Energy Costs

A recent Forbes article, "Renewable Energy Prices Hit Record Lows: How Can Utilities Benefit from Unstoppable Solar and Wind?" covered new U.S. Energy Information Administration data predicting solar and wind energy will dominate America's new generation in 2020, making up 76% of new generation and adding 42 gigawatts of zero-emission capacity. The article cites NREL's 2019 Annual Technology Baseline, which predicts the levelized cost of wind energy will decline at least another 64% by 2050 in its optimistic scenario and at least 44% in its mid technology cost scenario. Read more about the 2019 Annual Technology Baseline for land-based wind.


Cost of Floating Offshore Wind Energy Using New England Aqua Ventus Concrete Semisubmersible Technology

This report provides cost, technological, and resource data for floating offshore wind technology deployment at a hypothetical reference site in the Gulf of Maine. Report findings indicate lower costs for floating offshore wind deployment than previously estimated, resulting from recent technological and commercial improvements in the global industry.

The Potential Impact of Offshore Wind Energy on a Future Power System in the U.S. Northeast

Quantifying the potential impact of offshore wind on a near-future electricity system in the Northeastern United States, this study analyzes the Northeast power system in 2024 for scenarios with up to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind. Featured information includes offshore wind’s potential impacts on generation dispatch, curtailment, transmission congestion, capacity credits, locational marginal prices, and production cost savings.

2018 Cost of Wind Energy Review

Using representative utility-scale projects to estimate the levelized cost of energy for land-based and offshore wind power plants in the United States, this annual report provides insight into wind energy cost trends and drivers.