What does a Wind Turbine Cost?
The Price Banana
The graph above gives an impression of the price range of modern, Danish grid connected wind turbines as of February 1998. As you can see 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 you roughly 1 500 USD. 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.
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 1000 kW. This is where you are likely to find a machine which is optimised for any particular wind climate.
Typical 1000 kW Machines on the Market Today
Even if prices are very similar in the range from 600 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 600 kW machine, if it is located in a low wind area. The working horse today is typically a 1000 kilowatt machine with a tower height of some 60 to 80 metres and a rotor diameter of around 54 metres.
1 000 Dollars per Kilowatt Average
The average price for large, modern wind farms is around 1 000 USD per kilowatt electrical power installed. (Note, that we are not talking about annual energy production, yet. We'll return to that in a couple of pages. Energy production is measured in kilowatt hours. If this sounds confusing, take a look at the Reference Manual of this web site).
For single turbines or small clusters of turbines the costs will usually be somewhat higher. On the next page we will discuss installation costs further.
© Copyright 1997-2003 Danish Wind Industry Association
Updated 12 May 2003