Technology advancements and cost reductions have driven wind power down to 2 cents per kwh. This is from the annual report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Key findings from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Technologies Market Report include:
Wind power capacity additions continued at a rapid pace in 2017. Nationwide, wind power capacity additions equaled 7,017 megawatts (MW) in 2017, with $11 billion invested in new plants. Wind power constituted 25 percent of all U.S. generation capacity additions in 2017. Wind energy contributed 6.3 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 10 percent of total electricity generation in 14 states, and more than 30 percent in four of those states (Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota).
Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs. Wind turbine equipment prices have fallen to $750-$950/kilowatt (kW), and these declines are pushing down project-level costs. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,610/kW, down $795/kW from the peak in 2009 and 2010.
Wind energy prices remain low. Lower installed project costs, along with improvements in capacity factors, are enabling aggressive wind power pricing. After topping out at 7 cents per kWh in 2009, the average levelized long-term price from wind power sales agreements has dropped to around 2 cents per kWh – though this nationwide average is dominated by projects that hail from the lowest-priced region, in the central United States. Recently signed wind energy contracts compare favorably to projections of the fuel costs of gas-fired generation. These low prices have spurred demand for wind energy from both traditional electric utilities and nonutility purchasers, such as corporations, universities, and municipalities.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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