ECONOMICS

Turbine costs


The price Banana
The price Banana graph        The graph gives an impression of the price range of modern, Danish grid connected wind turbines as of February 1998. It can be seen prices vary for each generator size. The reasons are e.g. different tower heights, and different rotor diameters. One extra metre of tower will cost roughly 1,000 euros. A special low wind machine with a relatively large rotor diameter will be more expensive than a high wind machine with a small rotor diameter.
        To give a better idea about the costs you can convert the currency into Euro's:
1 USD = 0.77 EUR (current rate may 2005)






Economies of scale
        As you move from a 150 kW machine to a 600 kW machine, prices will roughly triple, rather than quadruple. The reason is, that there are economies of scale up to a certain point, e.g. the amount of manpower involved in building a 150 kW machine is not very different from what is required to build a 600 kW machine. E.g. the safety features and the amount of electronics required to run a small or a large machine is roughly the same.
         There may also be (some) economies of scale in operating wind parks rater than individual turbines, although such economies tend to be rather limited.



Price competition and product range
        Price competition is currently particularly tough and the product range particularly large around 500 - 750 kW. This is where you are likely to find a machine which is optimised for any particular wind climate.


Typical 600kW machines on the market today
        Even if prices are very similar in the range from 500 to 750 kW, you would not necessarily want to pick a machine with as large a generator as possible. A machine with a large 750 kW generator (and a relatively small rotor diameter) may generate less electricity than, say a 450 kW machine, if it is located in a low wind area. The working horse today is typically a 600 kW machine with a tower height of some 40 to 50 m and a rotor diameter of around 43 m.