From a pre-market level of about USD 0.80 per kWh in 1980, wind power costs have declined steadily. Wind power crossed the USD 0.10 per kWh threshold in about 1991, and dropped to about USD 0.05 per kWh in 1998. Since then, costs at the very best sites have dropped to about USD 0.03-USD 0.04 per kWh.7
7 These costs are not directly comparable with fossil-fuel-based power generation due to the variable nature of wind electricity and the grid integration costs.
Costs of wind power installations depend on system components and size, as well as on the site. Generating capacity is primarily determined by the rotor-swept area and local wind patterns. Typical turnkey installation costs of onshore wind turbines are USD 850-USD 1,150 per kW. Investment costs differ considerably between onshore and offshore applications. For offshore installations, the foundation accounts for one-third or more of the cost. Turnkey installation costs are now in the range of USD 1,100-USD 2,000 per kW for offshore wind turbines, which is 35-100% higher than for onshore installations.
Operating costs for turbines include servicing, repairs, site rental, insurance, and administration. A study, conducted in Denmark, tracked operating costs for turbines in the size range of 150 kW to 600 kW. It shows nearly contemporary turbines (500-600 kW) having annual operating costs steadily increasing from 1% of the investment cost in the first year to 4.5% after 15 years. These figures are consistent with estimates of 2-4% in Portugal and estimates of 3.4% in the Netherlands for smaller projects. Maintenance and repair costs account for roughly one-third of total operating costs.
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