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Investment Cost and View Damage Cost of Siting an Offshore Wind Farm: A Spatial Analysis of Lake Michigan

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
October 2016

Investment and view damage costs are important determinants in siting locations for offshore wind farms (OWF) in the Lake Michigan region. This study is limited to the Michigan state boundary for the OWF sites and viewshed impacts. Investment cost depends on the depth and distance to shore of the farm. View damage cost depends on household density and consumer willingness to pay to avoid the visual disamenity of wind turbines. Both these costs are dependent on the geographic location and are summed to create an aggregate cost. Using ArcGIS, the OWF siting locations were mapped, with spatial analysis revealing the northern region of the lake at the minimum aggregate cost. The view damage cost contributes at most 68%, but on average 7%, to the aggregate cost. The aggregate levelized cost of energy (LCOE) ranges from 183 to 368 $/MWh (average of 256 $/MWh). The view damage LCOE contribution to the aggregate LCOE is 3% on average and 46% at most. View damage impact is the dominating factor only around a small shoreline region (due to large impacted populations). A series of maps are presented that highlight the investment and view damage tradeoffs which can inform OWF siting in Lake Michigan.

Research Areas
Energy Systems
ArcGIS, Great Lakes, Levelized cost of electricity, Viewshed, Willingness-to-pay, Wind power generation
Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2016.04.075
Full Citation
Chiang, Amy C., Gregory A. Keoleian, Michael R. Moore and Jarod C. Kelly. (2016) “Investment cost and view damage cost of siting an offshore wind farm: A spatial analysis of Lake Michigan.” Renewable Energy. 96 (Part A): 966–976.