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Cost of Offshore Wind Energy


The technical and financial costs for the planning, construction, operation and dismantling of offshore wind farms are significantly higher than for onshore projects. Higher yields offshore, large wind farm units and clusters, large nominal turbine outputs and feed-in tariffs contribute to the economic use of offshore wind energy.

At the end of 2018, around 1340 offshore wind turbines with a rated output of around 6400 MW were feeding wind power into the German energy grids. The first offshore wind farm, Alpha ventus, is a pilot project with 12 wind turbines compared to the current offshore wind farm size of 50 to 80 turbines each. Through the further development of turbine technology, methods and procedures, synergy and learning effects, the electricity production costs of offshore wind energy have been continuously reduced.

This trend is continuing, also in an international context. Two studies from 2018 [IEA Wind][Fraunhofer ISE] independently come to almost identical results of the specific electricity production costs (LCOE) of German offshore projects in 2018: IEA Task 26 gives 99 € / MWh as result of a generic wind farm with key data of current German offshore projects [IEA Wind]. Kost et al. of Fraunhofer ISE calculate with comparable input parameters a range of 75 to 138 € / MWh [Fraunhofer ISE], corresponding to about 106 € / MWh in arithmetic mean. In the medium term until 2035 Kost et al. expect a range of electricity production costs of around 57 € / MWh at locations with 4500 full load hours and 101 € / MWh at 3200 full load hours [Fraunhofer ISE]. due to the still high cost reduction potential for offshore wind turbines.

Based on LCOE values of 145 € / MWh in 2014 over 109 € / MWh in 2016, the market leader Siemens has made a voluntary commitment to reduce electricity production costs to 100 € / MWh by 2020 and even to 80 € / MWh by 2025. In order to achieve these goals, Siemens identifies as key factors the implementation of further measures in the areas of plant technology including foundations, cost savings through innovations in maintenance and operation including offshore logistics, as well as improved grid connection solutions. Further steps to reduce costs include performance improvements, larger rotor diameters and innovations, e.g. in generator technology [Siemens Kundenmagazin].