Wind turbines are approaching sizes that will limit developable sites due to logistical and transportation challenges
Over the past decade, the U.S. wind energy industry has achieved significant improvements in energy production and cost efficiency driven in part by increased turbine, blade, and tower size. However, the industry is fast approaching a logistical cost and capability ceiling as turbine components become too large for existing U.S. infrastructure and transportation options to accommodate. Developing and operating a wind project is a complex optimization process that necessitates numerous trade-offs between turbine size, costs, project location, proximity to people, environmental impacts, component delivery, access to sufficient wind resource, local employment, and many other topics. As turbine component sizes increase, logistical constraints add to this challenge and can either reduce the number of developable sites or elevate costs, creating additional variables to optimize or making potential sites economically uncompetitive. Finding new solutions to logistical challenges associated with ever-larger components can enable the industry to achieve optimal wind levelized cost of energy (LCOE) options in every U.S. region.