Process-Based Balance-of-System Cost Modeling for Offshore Wind Power Plants in the United States: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This work describes the development of a process based and open source balance of system cost model which provides the capability to evaluate both existing and novel offshore wind technologies. Individual design and installation steps are represented with bottom-up engineering models that compute the times and costs associated with the process; furthermore, operational constraints are assigned to each process so that delays due to weather and presence of marine mammals may be accounted for in the overall project timeline. The model structure, assumptions, inputs, and results are vetted with industry partners and compared against actual projects for validation; installation times are shown to agree with real data with relative errors of less than 35\%. Case studies are presented to demonstrate the functionality of the model. First, individual vessel efficiencies are computed for varying numbers of installation vessels and weather time series to show the diminishing returns of more than two feeder barges. Then, array cable capital costs and installation times are determined for a representative project with different turbine sizes. This quantifies the cost benefit tradeoffs of decreasing number of turbines, increased turbine spacing, and fewer turbine terminations and shows a net cost savings. These results demonstrate that the BOS model features the accuracy, functionality, and accessibility to serve as the foundation for a wide range of analyses to identify cost reduction potentials for offshore wind energy in the United States.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2020
EventNAWEA/WindTech 2019 - Amherst, Massachusetts
Duration: 14 Oct 201916 Oct 2019


ConferenceNAWEA/WindTech 2019
CityAmherst, Massachusetts

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-77190 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-74933


  • offshore wind balance of system
  • process based engineering cost models


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