Evaluating Tall Wind Turbine Tower Designs
Developing wind turbines taller than the 80 m standard used today is a major focus in the wind turbine industry in order to reach the stronger and steadier winds that occur at these heights. In order to access these winds and increase wind power production efficiency, new designs must be utilized to overcome issues with upscaling the current standard steel tubular tower design. In this research, a cost analysis of steel tubular towers was conducted to determine if this design is cost effective at heights above 80. Through this analysis, it was determined that steel tubular designs become less cost effective as tower height is increased and are not a cost effective option above 80 m. A second cost analysis was conducted to compare four potential 100 m turbine tower designs, each utilizing different materials. Cost estimates for each design were developed to compare capital costs and cost efficiency for both 20 and 40 year life cycles. In this analysis, the Ultra High Performance Concrete design was the most cost effective option. The precast concrete design was second most cost effective, followed by the steelconcrete hybrid design. The steel tubular design was the least cost effective at 100 m.