Larger Turbines and the Future Cost of Wind Energy (Poster)

Research output: NRELPoster


The move to larger turbines has been observed in the United States and around the world. Turbine scaling increases energy capture while reducing general project infrastructure costs and landscape impacts, each of which of can reduce the cost of wind energy. However, scaling in the absence of innovation, can increase turbine costs. The ability of turbine designers and manufacturers to continue toscale turbines, while simultaneously reducing costs, is an important factor in long-term viability of the industry. This research seeks to better understand how technology innovation can allow the continued development of larger turbines on taller towers while also achieving lower cost of energy. Modeling incremental technology improvements identified over the past decade demonstrates that costreductions on the order of 10%, and capacity factor improvements on the order of 5% (for sites with annual mean wind speed of 7.25 m/s at 50m), are achievable for turbines up to 3.5 MW. However, to achieve a 10% cost reduction and a 10% capacity factor improvement for turbines up to 5 MW, additional technology innovations must be developed and implemented.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NamePresented at the European Wind Energy Association Annual Event, 14-17 March 2011, Brussels, Belgium

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-6A20-50835


  • cost reductions for wind turbines
  • energy capture
  • scaling
  • turbine scaling
  • wind turbines


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