Cost-Efficiency of Offshore Wind Farms for Great Lakes Coastal Cities in the US

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This capstone project analyzed various aspects of freshwater turbine benefits and impacts in the Great Lakes to determine if offshore wind farms are a cost-efficient source of renewable energy for coastal cities in the region. This research is divided into two sections: Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and Societal Cost of Energy (SCOE). For the purpose of this project five proposed wind farms were analyzed, one in each lake and each located off the coast of an urban area. Results show that when cost-efficiency is based solely on LCOE data then Lake Michigan is the most efficient, followed by Lakes Erie and Huron, then Lake Ontario, and lastly Lake Superior. Regarding SCOE, environmental and social impacts of wind farms are both positive and negative depending highly on location. However, more research on SCOE variables is needed to determine overall cost-efficiency. In fact, there are many more variables that would affect the costs of wind farm development in the Great Lakes for LCOE and SCOE equations. Thus, for future planning purposes research should not only look in more detail on the impacts of freshwater and seasonal icing on wind turbines, but also environmental and social impacts to determine additional cost-benefit data.
windfarm, freshwater, efficiency