Wind power now cheaper than NatGas


Click to enlargeNREL

❝ This week, the US Department of Energy released a report that looks back on the state of wind power in the US by running the numbers on 2018. The analysis shows that wind hardware prices are dropping, even as new turbine designs are increasing the typical power generated by each turbine. As a result, recent wind farms have gotten so cheap that you can build and operate them for less than the expected cost of buying fuel for an equivalent natural gas plant…

❝ Overall, that brings the US’ installed capacity up to nearly 100GW. That leaves only China ahead of the US, although the gap is substantial with China having more than double the US’ installed capacity. It still leaves wind supplying only 6.5 percent of the US’ total electricity in 2018, though, which places it behind a dozen other countries. Four of them—Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal—get over 20 percent of their total electric needs supplied by wind, with Denmark at over 40 percent.

❝ That figure is notable, as having over 30 percent of your power supplied by an intermittent source is a challenge for many existing grids. But there are a number of states that have now cleared the 30 percent threshold: Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, with the two Dakotas not far behind. The Southwest Power Pool, which serves two of those states plus wind giant Texas, is currently getting a quarter of its electricity from wind…

So while wind remains a small factor in the total electricity market in the US, there are parts of the country where it’s a major factor in the generating mix. And, given the prices, those parts are likely to expand.

So-called cultural lag is a joke when American politics is called into play. We still function by 19th Century standards of knowledge, support, guidance and, especially, profit. If coal was still as profitable as plentiful, Congress wouldn’t care if we all died of Black Lung disease as long as the money kept rolling in. Creeps like Trump and McConnell would have even fatter wallets.