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Offshore Potentials Design Proposal for the Construction of an Offshore Wind Farm for

Delmarva Power & Light

November 18th, 2012
Team Members:
David Erbe
Jack Trimble
Daniel Son
Kevin Pellegrini
Samantha Castillo

Executive Summary
Offshore Potentials strives to provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for the
energy-demanding world. Wind energy is a great solution in providing clean fuel to power
anything requiring electricity. Delmarva Power is the primary electricity provider for homes and
businesses located in the eastern region of Maryland. Combined with the Delaware area, they
provide electricity to over 500,000 homes across the peninsula (Delmarva Power, 2012). These
numbers indicate huge potential in improving wind energy technologies along Marylands
Eastern Shore. Since most of Marylands inland areas do not have high wind speeds, it is best to
locate the wind turbines offshore where there are ample amounts of high, sustained winds.
Offshore Potentials will be designing a wind farm and providing the information to Delmarva
Power so they can easily distribute renewable energy across the Eastern Shore.
The design for Offshore Potentials Eastern Shore project took into account many factors.
Deciding on a location is important when designing an offshore wind farm as wildlife habitats,
shipping lanes, wind availability, water depth, and easy access must all be considered. The
location for the wind farm is roughly 30 km east offshore of Ocean City, Maryland. Birds tend to
be a problem for wind turbines located on land due to migration patterns in certain areas.
However, the problem is less severe when dealing with offshore turbines because birds tend to
travel within one mile of the coastline (Firestone, 2010). The wind farm could become a problem
for the shipping industry if it is located in a direct travel line. Research shows there are regions
east of the proposed location with high shipping activity yet the location chosen will not interfere
with current trends. There must be enough wind in the area to prove that construction of a wind
farm is economically worth it. The average wind speed for the proposed location is 8.31 m/s,
which provides enough incentive and energy for a large wind farm. Different water depths
demand different foundation designs for the turbines. The water depth is approximately 25
meters in the proposed area so the monopile foundation design is ideal (Firestone, 2010). The 30
km distance from the shore provides an area with a good balance of wind and distance. There is
more wind further offshore, but due to longer trips to access the location, more fuel would be
required for service and maintenance. Offshore Potentials believes this is the best location for the
proposed project.
The overall design includes 100 wind turbines with a capacity of 5 MW each, which will
provide close to 200 MW hours of electricity to customers. The total cost of the project is
estimated around 2.68 billion dollars including maintenance costs, with tax incentives providing
a large amount of money for the project. DPL sells electricity at around 9.35 cents per kw hour
(Delmarva Power Customers, 2012). With tax incentives the project will generate 2.163 billion
dollars in the first ten years. After that period it will generate 163 million dollars per year. These
estimates provide a payback period of 13.2 years.
Overview of Client
Our client, Delmarva Power & Light, is responsible for producing power for the entirety of the
state of Delaware and Marylands Eastern Shore, reaching over 500,000 homes and businesses.
With so many people reliant on their service, it is necessary for them to burn an exorbitant

amount of fossil fuels annually, thus giving them a large carbon footprint. Fortunately, the
company as a whole is committed to reducing their impact on the environment, and as such is a
perfect candidate for an offshore wind farm. This system will be designed to augment DPLs
energy generation capacity and help them reach their renewable energy goals, while
simultaneously providing their customers with an alternative, clean source of electricity.
In order to best serve Delmarva Power & Light and the consumers who rely on them, our
wind farm will consist of 100 5MW wind turbines, capable of generating a total of 199.2 MWh.
In order to maximize our systems energy efficiency while simultaneously minimizing its scenic
and environmental impact, the farm will be situated 30 kilometers off the coast of Ocean City,
Maryland. Found at 382002.46 N, 744428.19 W, this location is a safe distance away from
any shipping lanes, migratory paths, natural conservatories, or waste dumps that could be
threatened by our project (Fig. I). The water column at this site is approximately 27 meters deep,
thus allowing for the use of monopile turbine columns. The structures will be constructed from
steel tubing and driven directly into the ocean floor, thus anchoring the turbine shaft.
Offshore wind farms are favorable because they give turbines access to stronger, more
sustained winds than the ones found on land. However, these turbines are also exposed to the
dangers that open-ocean environments present. The average wind speed at our proposed build
site is approximately 8 m/s (Fig. IV), but wind turbines should be designed to withstand the most
strenuous conditions possible in order to reduce repair costs. Squalls, noreasters, and occasional
hurricanes all threaten wind turbines built in this area. Fortunately, modern wind turbines are
rated for wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour. Because only three such events have occurred in
the United States in the last century, these specifications should be more than adequate for
ensuring the longevity of our wind farm. Additionally, braking systems will also be employed to
prevent high winds from damaging our turbines blades or gearboxes. High wind speeds aside,
offshore farms should also be constructed with the threat of icing in mind. Should ice form on a
turbines blades, the high speed of the blades rotation could throw sheets of ice hundreds of feet,
which could potentially damage neighboring turbines. For this reason, turbines will be placed an
appropriate distance apart (Fig. VI), to minimize the damage blade icing can cause.
One of the major concerns of consumers and energy companies alike is the cost of
offshore wind energy, particularly when it is compared to that of traditional fossil fuel energy
sources. Based on recent data, the implementation of a design such as ours would raise monthly
electricity rates for DPLs customers by approximately two dollars. Despite this, polls suggest
the majority of affected consumers would still be in favor of the construction of an offshore wind
farm, given its long-term benefits to the environment, energy companies, and the general public.
Description of Offshore Wind Energy:
Offshore wind has many benefits over other non-renewable and even renewable energy
producing technologies. Wind energy is a clean, renewable energy source converting wind
currents into electricity. This electricity can then be transported onshore providing energy for
local homeowners and businesses. To further understand how wind power is formed, one must
understand how the Sun impacts temperature on the surface of the Earth.

As the sun heats the air on the surface of the Earth, air flows are generated between the
cool air and warmer air. As the air mass over a surface becomes warm, the warm air rises and
cold, denser air from other areas quickly moves to the vacated space, creating wind. Wind
turbines take that wind and put it to work, generating energy that can be transmitted to homes
and businesses safely and cleanly. The proposed offshore wind farm will have a variety of
advantages, not only over fossil fuels, but also over land-based wind farms and other renewable
energy sources.
There are a variety of benefits to wind power that can help Ocean City become more
sustainable. For example, wind is free, omnipresent, and renewable. Wind is cleaner than natural
gas and does not threaten the environment with pollution, as is the case with fossil fuels.
Offshore, the winds are stronger and more consistent, allowing for a steadier and larger supply of
energy. A kWh of wind is cheaper than one produced by solar photovoltaic panels, and wind, in
some areas, is already financially competitive with conventionally generated electricity (Busby,
2012). Not only is wind a potentially better source of power, but it also is a potential source for
green jobs which would help the economic growth of Ocean City.
Understandably, there are complaints about offshore wind, specifically concerning
aesthetic damage, interrupted fishing and shipping lanes, and proximity to the city. These
problems would normally be a valid complaint. However, with a wind farm that is more than 20
kilometers offshore, visual pollution is reduced and fishing and shipping lanes are better
accommodated (Pardo and Fernandez, 2011). Wind farms that are further offshore are invisible
to those on land, but suffer from a loss of energy efficiency through transmission lines from
being too far away from the area for which they are generating power. Our proposed site is 30
kilometers offshore, which would place the wind farm far enough into the horizon to reduce
visual pollution, but still be close enough to run underwater lines to Ocean City and minimize
loss of power in transmission. Another complaint was the possible disruption of wildlife habitat
and interference with birds. However, our proposed construction location is well outside any fish
migration lanes and would not interfere with migrating birds.
Besides the community and more environmentally conscious benefits, there are also
economic benefits to consider. Wind power runs best in large scale applications and with
improving designs the investment and maintenance costs are dropping.
Unfortunately with all good things, there are challenges that must first be addressed.
Some of the potential cons are land erosion, noise pollution, and emissions during construction.
Land erosion and noise are not significant problems with offshore wind turbines however. With
the turbines placed farther away from the shore, noise pollution is nonexistent compared to wind
and wave sounds that would already be loud and prevalent. Land erosion would also be minimal
with offshore structures, as our only contact with land would be the minimal amount of seabed
moved to secure the monopile shafts and contact during the construction period.
Another issue is the unpredictability of wind; wind does not always blow at the same
speed all the time, and when winds reach certain speeds the turbines must be shut down. With
land-based wind energy systems, a way to store electricity would be needed to combat the

variability in wind speeds. However, this becomes less of a problem with an offshore wind farm
due to the fact that the winds blow steadier and stronger out to sea. Hurricane force winds would
be addressed in the structure and operation of these turbines as well.
The overall biggest challenge is the cost. A wind farm still has a slightly higher cost than
natural gas and is a significantly greater investment than a fossil fuel power plant. For a wind
turbine too far off from the coast, new transmission lines would need to be built to connect the
turbines closer to the city and maintenance costs for helicopter and boat trips to the turbines
would also be added to the budget. All in all, offshore is a viable, competitive source of
renewable energy with many environmental and economic benefits.
Renewable Energy System Design:
Overview of Wind Turbine Specifications, Parts, and Technical Data:
REpower 5M Wind Turbine
Height: 85-95 meters
Blade diameter: 126 meters
Monopile base
Maximum power output: 5,075 KW or 5 MW
Rotor Area: 12,469 m^2
Rotor Speed: 7.7-12.1 rpm
Cut in speed: 3.5 m/s
Cut out speed: 30 m/s
Individually adjustable blades
Steel tube tower
Integrated lightning protection with drain receptor in blade tip
Fully automated fire protection system
Reliable Protection against humidity and salt
No leakage of grease,oil, or lubricants
Low noise level
Easy access to hub for service
Hydraulic crane for easy maintenance
Helicopter landing pad on top of nacelle
*Specifications summarized from fact sheet
**For detailed wind turbine specifications, please view at,
Energy Overview:
Since clean, affordable energy is the goal of this project, it is vital to know exactly how
much energy will be produced by this system, how much energy is lost, and why certain
decisions were made in the proposed design. This design consists of 100 total wind turbines

operating at 5 MWh each. These sized turbines are a standard in efficient offshore designs
because they are tall enough to get higher, faster winds and strong enough to withstand the forces
of strong winds and possible storms. It is most efficient to install numerous turbines because this
minimizes the cost of installation per turbine. The turbines stand 90 meters tall and the rotor
diameter is 126 meters. Our proposal plans to space these turbines using a crosswind spacing
factor of 5 and a downwind spacing factor of 10. The turbines will be installed in a grid pattern
20 turbines in the crosswind direction by 5 turbines in the downwind direction (Figure VI). This
allows for a maximum wind exposure and minimal limiting effects to turbines in the downwind
locations. With these spacing factors, the proposed turbine field will have an area of 15.876
The turbine field is angled in the northwest direction to optimize wind energy gain.
During the spring, fall, and winter months, this is the direction of the most wind at a constant
usable rate. This design optimizes total power gain on an annual basis. The average wind speed
is 8.31 m/s in our selected location (Firestone, 2010). Based on ideal conditions, the turbines
will follow the following output scheme:
Wind speed <3.5m/s, Output = 0 MW per turbine
Wind speed = 7m/s, Output = 1 MW per turbine
Wind speed = 9m/s, Output = 2 MW per turbine
Wind speed = 10m/s, Output = 3 MW per turbine
Wind speed = 11.5 m/s, Output = 4 MW per turbine
13.4m/s< Wind speed <30m/s, Output = 5 MW per turbine
Wind speed > 30m/s, Output = 0 MW per turbine to protect gearbox
*Since the average wind speed is 8.31 m/s at our location, we will use this in our calculations to
collect average energy output and efficiencies.
**to see more detailed wind speed/output, see Figure V.
Materials Overview:
Materials that are used in the construction of the wind turbine include steel, cast iron,
aluminum, rubber and glass reinforced plastic (GFRP). Steel is the most heavily used material
and it makes up 95% of the whole structure. In the appendix one can find the percent-weight
comparison of each part of the wind turbine to the total weight of the complete structure. The
percentage of each part that is steel is mentioned there as well. Cast iron, aluminum, and rubber
are mainly used in the nacelle for components that make up the gearbox and generator. The
GFRP is used mostly in the rotor blades, and in smaller portions for other parts such as the
gearbox. On average approximately 356.608 tons of steel, and 52.92 tons of GFRP is used in a
single turbine.
Energy Efficiency:
To determine our predicted efficiency of our system, one must first understand different
capacity factors of wind turbines. Under ideal conditions, perfect design, maximum wind at all

times, wind turbines follow an efficiency that is represented by Betz Limit (59.3% efficiency).
The proposed project does not follow this ideal limit because we must also maximize our cost
efficiency. Our proposed design will capture the energy from an average wind speed of about
8.31 m/s. With this wind speed, the output would be 1.992 MW per turbine. When comparing
this to the maximum capacity of our turbines (5 MW), we determine that our capacity factor for
the proposed design is 0.3984 (39.84% efficiency). The overall output for the entire system is
199.2 MW per hour. This design optimizes the energy output with the cost input to maximize
net economic gain for the entire system.
Cost Efficiency:
It is very difficult to accurately assess the exact price of such a large system due to the innovative
aspect to this design. A large part of the cost of this design is the installation which can vary due
to installation efficiency and turbine quantity. What follows is a summary of the data that has
been collected in the last five years on offshore turbine cost projections.
The first efficiency data set examined is a basic USD/KW efficiency table. This table
states that it costs between 3,300-5,000 dollars per KW for offshore capital cost (IRENA 2012).
This would mean our design would cost between 1.65 billion and 2.5 billion dollars. Another
study from an offshore turbine study in Norway predicts that it costs 4,471 USD/KW for an
offshore system in 2010 (IRENA 2012). Without accounting for inflation and technical
advances, this would translate to the proposed offshore system costing 2.2355 billion USD. A
breakdown of this data set shows the following costs; 983 million USD for the wind turbine,
357.6 million USD for monopile foundations, 380 million USD for the electrical infrastructure,
290.55 million USD for the installation, and 223.5 million USD for planning and development
(IRENA 2012).
Possible Variations and Uncertainties:
One variation that was considered was the direction the wind farm was facing.
According to the wind speed rose plots in the appendix, the majority of the wind coming in
during the winter, spring and fall seasons is from the northwest direction. Our proposed system
optimizes total energy production. Another option is to angle the turbines to face the south west
direction to optimize energy output during the summer. This would bring in the most energy
during the peak energy use season, as the summer is when coastal energy use is at its maximum.
This variation would bring in more energy during the summer season but would not optimize
total energy production during the other seasons.
Another variation is adjusting the layout of the turbine field and maximizing the amount
of wind energy while minimizing the amount of turbine interaction. The front row of turbines
will decrease the efficiency of those behind them by disrupting the aerodynamic currents and
resisting the power of the wind. This wind energy is converted into electrical energy by the front
turbines but decreases the available wind power for the turbines in the downwind direction. To
account for this, the system could include staggering the turbines which would allow them to be
closer together if total area is an issue. In the proposed design, we account for this by increasing

the downwind spacing factor to minimize the negative impact each turbine has on another.

Payback Period
As with any developing site there is an initial investment that will be paid off over time
with production. Our second estimate from the cost efficiency plan provides a value of about
2.24 billion dollars for construction cost of the entire wind farm. This includes estimates for grid
connections and planning and development as well. Wind turbines require maintenance and
replacement parts throughout the operational lifetime. This maintenance would cost about 20%
of the total cost for the turbine (Lansing, 2012). That would imply an additional 448 million
dollars, bringing the total cost to 2.68 billion dollars. Tax incentives from the state and federal
government can provide a large financial boost for the project. Offshore Potentials estimates that
the state tax incentives would be about 14.8 million dollars per year and federal incentives would
be about 38.4 million dollars per year. The federal program provides money for the first 10 years
of operation. The Maryland state program expires in 2015 but it could be renewed.
The average price of electricity in Maryland provided by Delmarva Power is 9.35 cents
per kW hour, or $93.50 per MW hour (Delmarva Power Customers, 2012). Since the wind farm
will produce 199.2 MWh of electricity on average, the site will generate around 18,625 dollars of
income per hour. This equals about 163 million dollars per year of income. If it is assumed that
the tax incentives are in place for 10 years then the wind farm would generate 2.163 billion
dollars of income in the first 10 years. This leaves about 517 million dollars that needs to be
covered to break even. With 163 million dollars a year of income it would take an additional 3.2
years to complete the payback period. Therefore the total payback period is around 13.2 years.
Final Recommendations:
Offshore wind power is a growing renewable energy option providing affordable energy
while minimizing the negative impacts to the environment. In Maryland, there is a huge
potential for offshore wind turbines due to the high constant wind speeds. Currently, resources
must be imported from various locations. There are, however, factories along the eastern shore
capable of providing these services with minor production adjustments in manufacturing
(Ridlington, 2012). This would significantly reduce production costs and improve future
productions and efficiency costs.
Overall, this project is very cost effective and has an acceptable payback period of 13.2
years. After that, these turbines will be able to continue generating power to pay for maintenance
costs and total growth. Looking further into the future, the turbines will be able to start
generating profits for the company itself to grow.
The only possible limitations would be the transmission lines and wind turbine
positioning. Unfortunately, even at the distances we have them designed at now, they will still be
seen in the distance. They are not far enough away from shore to be completely invisible (Pardo
and Fernandez, 2011). However, the turbines could not be placed any further from shore or we
would risk losing power in the transmittance from turbines to city. Transmission lines at this time

are being tested to somehow preserve the power being moved, so that all power is optimized
when it reaches the city or area it is providing for. Testing and experiments have already begun
on this at this time. For now, many scientists and researchers wonder if Americans will grow
accustomed and possibly proud of the sight of the turbines as a result of the promising future
they could potentially signal (Righter, 2011).
With wind positioning, we have the options of building turbines with adjustable heads to
position themselves into the wind and generate from any angle. Unfortunately with monopile,
this would mean that the farther back turbines in the group would then need to be turned off or
would be completely blocked by the turbines in front of them. What is being experimented with
now, however, is a structure underwater that would allow the turbines to shift and become offset
from one another whenever needed. Once the wind changes, the head of the turbine would be
able to position towards the wind while the turbine itself shifts to offset from the rest of the
turbines around it. Taking advantage of the power the wind could provide at all angles.
Other overall limitations to these designs would just be the overall cost of the materials
being used. Though we show that the turbine will pay for itself, it still is a large project to invest
in from the beginning. Materials are still being tested to find a way to build a complete wind
turbine that would be cheaper, but also able to withstand a hurricane or storm as well as modern
turbines. In the future, we will see improvements become possible as wind turbines grow as a
viable source for energy throughout the United States.

Team Contribution:
I wrote the following sections: Overview of Wind Turbine Specifications, Parts, and Technical
Data, Energy Overview, Energy Efficiency, Cost efficiency, and Possible Variations and
uncertainties. I also created the drawing of Figure VI: Auto CAD System Design Layout.
I worked on the following calculations in the appendix: Turbine Specs, Optimization of Spacing,
Spacing Factor, Overview of Site Location and Wind Speed, Capacity Factor, Predicted Power
and Energy Production, and Cost efficiency (Estimate 1 and 2). Lastly, I helped work on editing
the final document. Worked a total of about 15 hours on this project.
My primary tasks for this project were the writing of the client overview and the design of the
AutoCAD drawing of our turbine, including the rotor and monopile anchoring systems. In
addition, I helped determine the payback period for our proposed design by researching and
calculating the state and federal tax refunds our project would receive. I assisted in various
research aspects of the project, including project siting (location, wind speeds, zoning
infractions, etc.) and final paper editing. I estimate my total time spent on this project to be
approximately 11 hours.

My first task for the group project was to complete the executive summary portion of the
paper. We talked as a group during our first meeting about the overall design of the project. Once
we decided that our client was Delmarva Power I researched their website and other sources for
information on the company. I compiled this information along with our overall design plans,
specifically choice of location, into an introduction and summary. Next I took estimates from the
group on total cost of the project and tax incentives and worked out a payback period. For this I
included maintenance costs and researched average cost of electricity from DPL and calculated
the payback period. My estimated time spent on the project is 9 hours.
I was assigned the responsibility of researching and finding data about the materials that
were put into the turbine. First I ran an overall search for the basic materials that are put into the
turbine. Then I did the material break down as far as how much of what material was used. After
finding that steel and GFRP were the biggest components and most available information I broke
down the details. I found details on what percent weight each part of the turbine was and how
much steel went into each part. Then I researched the cost and size (weight) of each blade. I did
the basic calculations for how much of each material was used. The figures and specifications
were available in very limited quantities so I did the calculations for GFRP and steel because
they were the most available. I also wrote the material overview. Some other minor things that I
helped with are citations, edit, and researching to find details as to why wind power should be
recommended here in Maryland. The estimated time I spent on this project was approx 10 hours.
I was assigned the description of Renewable Energy Technology section when the first
meeting was held. I researched into paper and electronic sources to find as many possible pros
and cons for the section, and got an overview of how the turbines would ultimately work and
overcome the cons. I applied information from a past trip to pull information that I learned about
onshore and offshore turbine information and possible researched improvements. Met during the
second meeting to continue working on the majority of my section research. I then helped finish
the Final Recommendation section and then reviewed the assignment and edited any possible last
pieces. Estimated time I spent on the project was approximately 7 hours or so.

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