The use of wind energy is fantastic! It generates energy using the unending wind’s power without any additional inputs, CO2 emissions, or pollutants. However, there is a reason why wind or other renewable energy sources haven’t yet seized the initiative. Simply put, even with the enormous amounts of energy required for extraction, transportation, and refinement, fossil fuels are more affordable.
Fossil fuels are profitable in the near run due to their high energy density per unit and the fact that the infrastructure is already in place. Incentives for renewable energy exist for this reason—to increase their affordability. However, as wind industries can now generate a profit without the subsidies as wind turbines get more efficient, several nations are doing away with the subsidies.
It might be challenging to calculate a wind turbine’s payback period. It depends on a number of variables, including the price of electricity, the cost of the turbine, and how much power it produces. We estimated the payoff period for a 2.6 MW turbine in the example given in this article to be roughly 6 years and 7 months.
The Price of a Wind Turbine
Wind farms are not inexpensive. Although they cost a lot up front, once installed, they require little operation and upkeep. The turbine’s manufacture is the most costly process. Due to their unique composite material construction, the blades themselves can account for up to 25% of the total manufacturing expenses. The delicate equipment inside the nacelle may account for more than half of the manufacturing expenses.
Wind turbine installation and transportation are challenging tasks. The blades must be transported entire; however, the tower and gearbox assembly can be transported in sections and put together on location. Oversized loads incur higher shipping expenses, and entire roads may need to be closed to guarantee a safe delivery. Since wind turbines are typically situated in remote locations, the installation of infrastructure including access roads, power plants, and distribution lines is necessary, which raises the overall cost.
Costs for operations and maintenance after installation must be taken into account. This includes charges for administration and legal services, maintenance and repair expenditures, land use fees, and various other costs. The least expensive portion of the entire cost is O&M, and as newer and better-engineered turbines become more common, it is getting cheaper.
A 1.5 MW to 3 MW turbine will generally cost $1 million per MW in total. The typical turbine will cost roughly $37 per MW/h of power generated over the course of its lifetime, assuming a 25-year lifespan for the turbines.
Despite being in-depth, this example is a condensed version of a genuine cost study. The actual payback period might vary greatly and is influenced by a number of variables. Location significantly affects a wind turbine’s return on investment. The cost of construction, production, and transportation are all influenced by the cost of labor and raw resources in the region. The performance of the turbine is based on the site’s average wind speed. The amount of money the turbine makes depends on the fluctuating local electricity price.
You might anticipate a quick return on your investment in areas where labor and material expenses are low but electricity is expensive. The payback period may be considerably longer if labor and materials are more expensive but electricity is less costly.
Read More: What is a Zero Net Energy Building?