How Does Wind Project Performance Change with Age in the United States?

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published

05/2020

Abstract

Wind-plant performance declines with age, and the rate of decline varies between regions. The rate of performance decline is important when determining wind-plant financial viability and expected lifetime generation. We determine the rate of age-related performance decline in the United States wind fleet by evaluating generation records from 917 plants. We find the rate of performance decline to be 0.53%/year for older vintages of plants and 0.17%/ year for newer vintages of plants on an energy basis for the first 10 years of operation, which is on the lower end of prior estimates in Europe. Unique to the United States, we find a significant drop in performance by 3.6% after 10 years, as plants lose eligibility for the production tax credit. Certain plant characteristics, such as the ratio of blade length to nameplate capacity, influence the rate of performance decline. These results indicate that the performance decline rate can be partially managed and influenced by policy.

Journal

Joule

Volume

4

Year of Publication

2020

Pagination

1-17

Notes

An open-access version of this article published in Joule can be downloaded here

A webinar summarizing key findings recorded on May 20th, 2020 can be viewed here

Data and code used in this research have been made publically available and can be found here.

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