Report: Wind, solar are cheapest options, NOW

In its annual Levelized Cost of Energy analysis, Lazard Associates found the cost for power generated from wind energy resources were around $30-$60 per megawatt hour (MWh) range – even without any subsidies! Unsubsidized solar power resources provided power at a cost of $43-$48/MWh range. That’s 3-6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for wind, or 4.3-4.8 cents per kWh for solar. Of course with existing federal tax credits, real wind power prices could be as low as $14/MWh, or 1.4 cents/kWh, and real solar prices may reach as low as $35/MWh, or 3.5 cents/kWh.

How expensive is solar power? You’re going to be SHOCKED!

In some southern states, like North Carolin and Florida, NREL reports that utility-scale solar power prices may reach a levelized cost of approximately 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Incorporating the federal investment tax credit (ITC) could drop those prices down into the 3-4 cents per kilowatt hour range ($30-$40/MWh).

Wind and Solar Power: Complementary Energy Resources

Here at Solar Power International, a number of attendees have openly wondered: how can wind power and solar power work better, together? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two resources pair together quite nicely, naturally.

With nearly 3.5 gigawatts of wind power purchase agreements, and over 5 GW of installed solar power, the South has begun to embrace renewable energy. Pairing utility scale wind and solar power in the South could improve renewable energy market share as well as relieve potential integration issues. For example, as higher levels of solar power penetration occur, several utilities have noted a trend moving towards higher winter peak generation demand.

Texas Wind Farms Survive Hurricane Harvey

Simply put, many wind farms in coastal Texas weren’t affected by Harvey’s highest-level winds. And the turbines that did experience those extreme conditions, performed as expected and shut down for self-preservation, or when the local grid system failed.

How Will Hurricane Harvey Affect Texas Wind Farms?

To date, no wind farm in the United States has been destroyed by a hurricane. Neither Hurricane Iselle (Hawaii, 2014), Hurricane Sandy (New Jersey, 2012), nor Hurricane Irene (Delaware, 2011) harmed wind farms. Wind farms in hurricane-prone coastal zones are frequently designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, up to level Category 3 hurricanes. For self preservation purposes, wind turbines automatically shut down when wind speeds reach excessive levels. Hurricane Harvey is slated to become a Category 3 storm, and may test the limits of turbine engineering.

What do fidget spinners and wind turbines have in common?

As I attended the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2017 conference in Anaheim this past May, a number of expo exhibitors were giving away fidget spinners as conference attendee swag. At first, I just thought these companies were jumping on a trend, but then began to think a bit about the similarities between fidget spinners and wind turbines. No, really.

North Carolina Proposes Wind Farm Ban, Defies Department of Defense

North Carolina legislators are proposing wasting potentially thousands of dollars on an unnecessary study to evaluate wind farms and military interactions, a duplicative effort given that the Department of Defense already evaluates renewable energy projects. “There is an existing Department of Defense (DOD) process to evaluate – and if necessary – block wind farms, that was strengthened in the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Time for Virgin Islands to Transfer Power, to Renewables

There’s already a high level of self-sufficiency in St. Croix – where many, many homes rely almost entirely on rainwater cisterns for their freshwater supply. As batteries and residential renewable energy become cheaper, many residents may willfully follow Mr. Boyd’s footsteps, and begin to fully opt-out of the Virgin Island electric system by going off grid. But for economies of scale, utility-scale renewables and large batteries can pack a big economic punch. Lower systemwide power prices can help reduce electric bills, but also attract new companies seeking paradise on a dime. Meanwhile, brandishing ecological credentials could improve the islands’ largest industry: tourism. In the Netherlands, tourists readily pay for windmill and wind farm excursions.
As the Virgin Islands celebrate the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day, let’s hope it won’t take another 100 years for renewable energy.

OKLAHOMA is kicking butt with wind power

Just over 6,600 megawatts of installed wind power capacity exists in the Sooner State – enough to meet about 25% of the state’s annual electricity needs – more than what coal provides. Oklahoma installed nearly 2,000 megawatts in 2016 alone. By the end of the year, Oklahoma became third in the nation for the most wind power installed.

Brights Ideas at University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Deep in Louisiana’s Cajun Country, there’s a renewable energy research center dedicated to studying solar energy and biopower. And it smells like barbecue. Located in Crowley, Louisiana, the Cleco Alternative Energy Center is sponsored by Cleco Power, LLC, and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.