Already established as the “cleanest” source of readily-scalable electricity, American wind power is rapidly on its way to taking the title as the most affordable source as well.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has taken notice, as a recent article by reporter Ryan Tracy, using data from the 2013 U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook report, highlighted that newly built wind generation is cost competitive with all forms of electricity–currently second only to natural gas.
In fact, in recent weeks the WSJ has also featured letters from our Association and wind industry veteran Dale Osborn highlighting our industry’s growth. Perhaps this recent recognition also stems from significant wind industry investments by major power players such as Warren Buffett and Google.
These investors–as well as those that infused a record-setting $25 billion in private capital into the wind industry last year–recognize that American-made wind power is already a mainstream energy source and an important part of our nation’s clean energy future.
The EIA data is consistent with an earlier report from investment analysis firm Lazard, prepared for the Midwest regional utility system operator, similarly demonstrating wind power’s cost competitiveness. EIA's data and analysis also squares with scores of real-world examples where utilities publicly praise wind power for lowering consumer costs.
That’s because, as those in the industry know, wind power’s long-term fixed-rate purchase contracts provide a measure of stability for utilities in a world of constantly fluctuating fossil fuel markets. According to AWEA's annual wind market report, of the 13,131 MW of wind capacity installed in 2012, 76 percent were contracted under long-term power purchase agreements–up over 20 percent from a year prior.
With low operating costs, and by displacing the most expensive, least efficient source of energy on the utility grid, added wind power has consistently been shown to help save consumers money. Synapse Energy Economics’ most recent report confirms that doubling the use of wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states would save consumers a net $6.9 billion per year.
These cost savings have occurred due to the continual hard work and innovations of our industry. Wind turbine costs have dropped by 90 percent since 1980, and as the industry matures, production costs will likely continue their current downward trend.
We all know that access to low-cost energy is a key to America’s economic future, and with our nation’s vast, still untapped wind resources, our industry has ample opportunity to meet that challenge.
Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey. Department of the Interior/USGS. U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Paul Cryan
4,000 MW and counting: Xcel Energy punctuates busy first half of 2013 for RFPs, contracts, July 25, 2013
Citing low costs, Xcel Energy plans 'significant increase' in wind purchases, July 11, 2013
DNV KEMA: Accuracy of wind farm energy assessments improving, July 9, 2013
President's speech highlights wind power's benefits for both 'red' and 'blue' states, July 5, 2013
Wind tax credits a no-cost way to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, June 20, 2013
Fact check: Exelon's faulty math (and logic) on wind's consumer benefits, June 11, 2013
Mid-American Energy announces $1.9-billion investment in additional wind generation capacity, May 8, 2013
WINDPOWER 2013 Update: Analysts see future market of 4-8 GW/year in U.S., May 8, 2013
Georgia Power to acquire 250 MW of wind; utility underscores strategy of portfolio diversity, April 29, 2013
Buffalo Dunes Wind Project: A lesson in export, affordability, and transmission, April 23, 2013
Fact check: Attack by Locke Foundation's Sanders on N.C. RPS relies on flawed data, April 3, 2013
Fact check: Tang Energy's Jenevein off target with swipes at wind power, April 2, 2013
LBNL report: Low natural gas prices haven't detracted from wind's hedge appeal, March 11, 2013
Fact check: Pacific Research Institute report by Benjamin Zycher filled with inaccuracies, January 28, 2013
Despite flaws, DOE collaborative report shows more wind and transmission saves ratepayers money, January 23, 2013
Fact check: Marshall Institute attacks wind power, ignores facts, January 15, 2013
Fact check: Study on turbine lifespan 'just more anti-wind propaganda', December 24, 2012
Fact check: American Tradition Institute's Taylor and Tanton blowing smoke on wind incentive, December 20, 2012
TVA named 'Utility of Year' for pioneering wind power in Southeast, December 3, 2012
AWEA honors Alabama Power for using wind power to save dollars for Southeastern customers, December 3, 2012
Opinion: Wind energy delivers good value for Montana customers, November 26, 2012
First Wind's Bull Hill project now on line, highlights wind's affordability, November 20, 2012
Fact check: Exelon-funded report inflates wind integration costs, November 2, 2012
Alabama Power 'doubles down' on wind, October 9, 2012
The same everywhere you go: study highlights U.K. farmers' need for small wind as price hedge, October 5, 2012
Fact check: Charles Koch gets it wrong on wind power's cost, September 12, 2012
Western governors' report highlights utility integration reform needs, August 2, 2012
Homegrown wind energy cost effective, clean choice to meet increased electricity demand in British Columbia, report finds, June 25, 2012
Wisconsin PSC: RPS has economic benefits, negligible rate impact, June 25, 2012
IEA report finds cost of wind generation dropping as technology improves, June 7, 2012
WINDPOWER 2012 Update: Transmission for wind in western U.S.: Lower cost, lower variability, June 5, 2012
Wind technology advancing rapidly, challenges remain, June 4, 2012
Fact check: Elliott off target on wind and cost savings, June 4, 2012