Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Notes on Wind Energy Costs

It was my understanding a wind farm comes in at about $1 million to $1.5 million / megawatt.

The Bison Wind Energy Center, just completed, in North Dakota: $500 million / 160 megawatts = $3,000,000/megawatt (the way the story is written, there exists some doubt, in my mind, that the numbers are entirely complete, but be that as it may: $300,000/MW). Corrected: see the comment from the second reader below.  Huge thanks to an alert reader.  The project is for 160 megawatts; cost is projected at $500 million. Cost per MW: about $3 million.

Off-shore, wind is, they say, more expensive. How much more expensive?

Cape Wind, off Massachusetts: $2.6 billion / 454 MW = $6 million/MW.

The London Array, phase I: 2.2 billion euros/630 MW (1 euro = $1.30); therefore, $2.86 billion/630 MW = $4.5 million/MW 

So, this is is what we have:
  • North Dakota: $3 million/MW.
  • On-shore average, wiki: $1 million/MW
  • Off-shore, London (England): $4.5 million/MW
  • Off-shore, Massachusetts: $6 million/MW
Disclaimer: I often make simple arithmetic errors.  

Solar Farms

Examples for cost comparisons:
Announced June 3, 2013: Universal Bioenergy Inc. announced that its subsidiary, NDR Energy Group, has signed ... with JSG Solar Inc., to build a solar power farm in eastern North Carolina, USA. The estimated cost to build the facility is $167 million. The project is projected to generate an estimated $301 million in revenues over 25 years. 
The solar facility would be built on approximately 425 acres of land and generate 80-100MW (megawatts) of electricity for sale to electric public utilities in the North Carolina service area. The estimated annual electricity production is 143.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh). 
  • one section of farmland; not dual-use
  • $167 million/100 MW = $1.67 million/MW 
  • $167 million / 25 years = $7 million/year
  • at 5% borrowing rate, $8 million/year in the early years just for interest payments
  • $300 - $170 = $130 million over 25 years = $5 million in revenue/year
  • reminder: profits = revenue - costs (simplified)


  1. must be the Kennedy wind costs more.

    1. ... and you know the "real" costs are understated. The numbers truly do not make sense.

      Thank you for taking time to write.

  2. MP Minnesota 2013 resource plan lists 160 MW not 1600 MW, must be a misprint

    1. Thank you. I had trouble believing the $300,000/MW and didn't even think of the 1,600 MW which would have been the biggest wind farm in the universe, I think.

      Thank you for clearing that up.