NREL researchers have outlined a new vision for lowering the cost of floating wind plants. Classic floating platform concepts that include spar (left), semisubmersible (center), and tension leg platforms (right) need to be optimized to achieve cost competitiveness. Image by Josh Bauer, NREL

Wind - ORE Catapult launches new online course ?Offshore Wind Economics for Complete Beginners?

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) has announced the launch of its new online course “Offshore Wind Economics for Complete Beginners”, which is being launched at a time when offshore wind is a higher priority for governments and industry than ever before.

As energy security and energy costs take centre-stage in geopolitics, ORE Catapult’s new Excel and video-based self-contained online modelling course is aimed at those new to offshore wind energy, cashflow-based project valuation, or both. Students need only very basic Excel skills, and curiosity about what makes commercial, utility-scale offshore wind farms sink or swim.

The course site has a two-minute overview video, along with detailed information including free video overviews of the course, both as a whole and its individual units; a downloadable course outline and table of contents; student reviews of a successful pilot version; and course pricing, including volume discounts.

It is brought to you by ORE Catapult’s Head of Analysis & Insights Gavin Smart, who is also the co-author of International Energy Agency studies, and independent energy economist, educator and Wiley Finance author, Ken Kasriel.

The course is a blend of over 11 hours of often conversational lectures and video lessons, and hands-on spreadsheet exercises which prepare students for a multi-option case study model. Lessons cover a wide range of topics, including

An overview of what makes for a good offshore wind project site;

Capabilities and limitations of current technology;

How to estimate different turbines' power generation at development sites, with different estimated average wind speeds (data for which is freely available from public third party websites), and see the impact on total farm revenue;

How to model the relevant cash flows; and a detailed breakdown of costs and other value drivers.

Students are fully guided throughout, with end of unit quizzes to consolidate learning and a number of downloadable Excel models - each modelling exercise is provided with both unsolved and solved versions to ensure students stay on track. All course participants receive a digital certificate upon completion of all lessons and the end of course survey.

The course also provides something of a world tour, drawing on a custom-designed global wind atlas – exclusively for course participants to download – which shows at a glance which coastal sites have winds fast enough, and waters shallow enough, for early 2020s technology which is proven to be commercially viable at the utility scale.

All the learning and financial modelling is brought to life and fully consolidated through a realistic case study in the final unit. The detailed assumptions are based on things Gavin has seen “in the wild” in his day job as an offshore wind project economist.

Students assume the role of an offshore wind developer, using their newly-acquired knowledge to appraise the economics of, and choose between, different project options. These options vary by project location (with different water depths and distances from shore), site wind speeds, turbine sizes and timeframes (due to delays caused by local stakeholder objections).

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