Wall Street Journal highlights cost competitiveness of new wind projects
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
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