The Changing Economics of Wind Power in High Renewables Futures
Wind energy is increasingly among the least-cost technology choices in many energy markets, and many prescribe wind energy a central role in deep decarbonization power sector futures. However, a changing generation mix, policy drivers, saturation of the best project sites, increased siting constraints, competing land and ocean uses, and technology innovation pose a dynamic environment for wind energy to operate in, today and into the future. These factors could have significant effects on the overall economic offering of wind energy, particularly at the scales envisaged in deep decarbonization scenarios.
In this new Task 53 collaboration, researchers will evaluate cost and value primarily in the context of anticipated deep decarbonization developments and emerging wind energy applications. The Task 53 work builds on Task 26 efforts, but it also reflects a considerable change. Task 26 focused on understanding wind energy costs and value over time and across different jurisdictions. In this new collaboration, methods development and data collection of new wind applications, plant configurations and operations, and associated uncertainties come into focus.
Task 53 work will assess how these power sector and technology developments impact the cost and value of wind power at the terawatt scales anticipated under deep decarbonization and explore which metrics are suitable for regular and more holistic reporting of cost and value trends. The focus on future wind power applications that might shape the evolving power system include the combined use of hydrogen and wind, integrated transmission and wind energy solutions (e.g., energy islands that serve as wind plant maintenance and transmission infrastructures), and the formation of highly industrialized and large-volume supply chains. Researchers will also evaluate the usefulness of existing and new metrics to assess the economic offering of wind power.