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.

One thought on “Wind power now cheaper than NatGas

  1. Numbnuts says:

    Monday, August 26, 2019: President Trump during a Press Conference in Biarritz, France: “I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth underneath its feet. I’m not gonna lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren’t working too well.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-macron-france-joint-press-conference-biarritz-france/
    On Friday, August 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released annual market reports documenting data and trends in wind installations, technologies, costs, prices, and performance through the end of 2018 for three sectors: utility-scale land-based, offshore, and distributed wind.
    DOE Press release with links to the reports (8/23/19) https://www.energy.gov/articles/department-energy-releases-annual-wind-market-reports-finding-robust-wind-power
    “Onshore wind energy installation continues to grow across the country, and this Administration has proven that we can pursue renewable energy advancements and deployment, particularly wind energy resources, which are predicted to surpass other sources of renewable power generation this year,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “And with over 25 gigawatts in the development pipeline, U.S. offshore wind is poised to be a significant part of our comprehensive energy portfolio in the coming years.”
    Of the two reports freshly announced on Friday afternoon, the 2018 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report plants the biggest, reddest flag for fossil energy stakeholders.
    That report totes up a potential generating capacity of 25,824 megawatts for offshore wind power projects already in the pipeline among 13 east coast states and the Great Lakes. That includes 30 megawatts for the Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, which is currently the only offshore array producing wind power in the US.
    By comparison, utility scale onshore wind in the US took a good 30 years to reach a total capacity of 96,433 megawatts in 2018. https://cleantechnica.com/2019/08/24/way-to-dump-all-the-good-news-about-wind-power-on-a-friday-afternoon-doe/ (see additional info and links)

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