Wind Levelized Cost of Energy: A Comparison of Technical and Financing Input Variables

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The expansion of wind power capacity in the United States has increased the demand for project development capital. In response, innovative approaches to financing wind projects have emerged and are proliferating in the U.S. renewable energy marketplace. Wind power developers and financiers have become more efficient and creative in structuring their financial relationships, and often tailor them to different investor types and objectives. As a result, two similar projects may use very different cash flows and financing arrangements, which can significantly vary the economic competitiveness of wind projects. This report assesses the relative impact of numerous financing, technical, and operating variables on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) associated with a wind project under various financing structures in the U.S. marketplace. Under this analysis, the impacts of several financial and technical variables on the cost of wind electricity generation are first examined individually to better understand the relative importance of each. Then, analysts examine a low-cost and a high-cost financing scenario, where multiple variables are modified simultaneously. Lastly, the analysis also considers the impact of a suite of financial variables versus a suite of technical variables.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages34
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A2-46671


  • analysis
  • LCOE
  • levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
  • NREL
  • production tax credit
  • technical variables
  • wind developers
  • wind energy
  • wind financing
  • wind markets
  • wind modeling
  • wind project


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