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ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2361-2125

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

4-1-2019

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded

2019

Month Degree Awarded

May

Abstract

To impede the progress of climate change, many policy makers are considering avenues to decarbonize electricity production. In addition to decarbonization, policy makers must consider how the cost of electricity will impact various stakeholders, balancing cost and social benefits. Offshore wind farms have the potential to produce affordable, carbon-free electricity, but they are a relatively new technology. The relative juvenescence of offshore wind lends itself to an uncertain future, regarding production costs. In this thesis, we seek to understand cost drivers behind offshore wind electricity by analyzing historic trends in offshore wind levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) through learning curves, characterizing how learning from producing a technology can lead to decreases in production costs. Additionally, we explore how the maturity of component technologies can affect the learning rate, and consequently the benefits of learning, of offshore wind. Finally, we create a robust data set to inform decision makers and researchers by marrying historic data to forward-looking expert elicitations.

First Advisor

Dr. Erin Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Lackner

Third Advisor

Dr. James Manwell

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