Potential impacts of blockchain based equity crowdfunding on the economic feasibility of offshore wind energy investment
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This paper explores the potential to reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of offshore wind technology through the use of digitalized financial innovations made possible by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Specifically, this paper proposed a novel application of DLT to crowdsource project finance for clean energy projects. An introduction to DLT technology and some of its potential applications is provided first. Next, the potential to move from a more centralized, top-down energy system to a more decentralized, two-way transactive energy system enabled by DLT is discussed. Within this new energy system framework, the idea of crowd-sourced equity funding of the capital cost of renewable energy is introduced. The impact of crowdfunded equity on the LCOE is then explored via the creation of a theoretical offshore wind installation off the coast of New Jersey. An existing offshore wind capital cost model is modified for use in the U.S., and an existing wind annual energy production model is utilized to provide inputs into a LCOE model. Finally, the potential impacts that DLT based crowdfunded equity may have on cost of debt, debt tenor, and debt-to-equity ratio are also input into the LCOE model in order to examine the range of potential impacts it may have on offshore wind LCOE.