An open-source model developed by U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) engineers is available to help designers of land-based wind energy systems estimate balance-of-system (BOS) costs. The costs incurred to conduct site preparation, construct foundations, install electrical infrastructure and build the tower currently account for 30% of the capital expenditures needed to install a land-based wind plant.

The Land-based Balance of System Systems Engineering (LandBOSSE) model helps users estimate BOS costs associated with wind power plant construction for different types of turbines, foundation materials, labor rates and crane sizes. The tool was developed using a hybrid of process-based and empirically derived methods to create a modular model design that will allow for updates as wind energy technologies evolve.

Researchers validated the LandBOSSE model against proprietary industry data for current construction practices as well as alternative tower and erection technologies using a range of turbine nameplate capacities, rotor diameters and plant sizes. The tool can be applied to assess alternative BOS technologies, including tower and erection technologies, collection system configurations as well as potential costs of repowering.

Illustration of idealized foundation design used in LandBOSSE. Source: NRELIllustration of idealized foundation design used in LandBOSSE. Source: NREL

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