Wind Farm Fact Check

Wind power is wildly popular. But, wind power hasn’t been as quick to catch on here in the south, so we get a lot of questions and comments about wind energy. Let’s clear the air on wind farms.

TVA: The Time to Contract for Clean Line’s Wind Power is Now

The time to contract for low cost wind power is now. The largest renewable energy project in the making is a proposed power line that will bring huge amounts of cheap, wind energy to the South, but electric companies must act quickly.

Delivering low-cost renewable energy to the Southeast

Wind resources from western Oklahoma and Texas – where the Clean Line and Pattern Energy transmission line projects will source wind – are being marketed at prices around $20-30 per MWh. That’s comparable to the price of operating a modern natural gas power plant, making wind not only cost-effective but a guaranteed low-cost electricity source for decades in the future.

Are We Understating the Potential for (and Uncertainty in) Wind Energy Cost Reductions?

The single most-significant difference came from the so-called ‘leading experts’: a hand-selected group of 22 individuals who are among the wind sector’s most knowledgeable and senior leaders. Those experts were, on average, even more optimistic about wind energy cost reduction, expecting LCOE to decline by 27% by 2030 and 48% by 2050 in the median scenario, and by 57% and 66% in the low scenario (Figure 4). The views of this group suggest even greater potential for cost reduction than noted earlier.

Seizing our massive offshore wind potential

It’s been quite the summer for U.S. offshore wind power! Following months of unprecedented progress in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Obama Administration released a strategy today that charts a collective path forward for the U.S. to seize the immense clean energy potential off our shores.

Did a rock band explain why wind power will work in the south, 45 years ago?

Wind farm development in the south has been slow. At one time, the sauntering southern breezes seemed too sluggish to harness for wind farm development. Research, meteorology and advanced wind turbine technology have finally enabled economic wind farm development in the south. Two southern cultural references, mixed with some new science, help explain why wind [...]

Remember that “wind tree”? It’s worse than we thought.

Fad wind turbines bad-mouth utility-scale wind farms, and then frequently fail to live up to their promises. That’s bad news for renewable energy. People can get misled into a false techno-optimism, that we should delay using today’s technologies because the future technology will be perfected, if we just wait a little longer. One positive aspect from the QZ.com article is it points out that a residential solar array costs about half as much as the wind tree. One thing the article doesn’t mention is that residential solar panels can achieve 20-30% capacity factors, or 4-5x higher performance than the wind tree (at 5%). At half the price and 4-5x the performance, residential solar panels are way, way better investments than the wind tree.

Wind Energy’s Two Cents: Utilities Should Buy Now

The LBNL report tracks trends in cost and performance among other metrics for the wind energy industry nationwide. Just over 5% of all electricity generated in the country comes from wind power. The average installed price for wind energy capacity is down 24% in just five years.

Seriously, utilities, buy wind NOW (yes, this year)

Really, it is time to buy wind energy. This is very simple. Wind costs less than running natural gas power plants. Keep the power plants. Use them, we’re not saying they aren’t needed. But it is cheaper to buy power from wind projects than to run your power plant full-out. Look at this amazing forecast [...]

How much solar and wind will Georgia utility regulators allow?

Our followers on social media think the answer should be “as much as possible,” but in our brief SACE argues in favor of a cap of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, likely to be mainly solar and wind. Georgia Power has proposed only 525 MW, and other parties have signaled interest in 1,200 MW or 2,000 MW. What’s remarkable about this “debate” is that everyone involved agrees that whatever the number, Georgia Power customers will end up saving money as these projects will cost less than the projected cost of generating power. This approach to developing renewable energy has been led by Commissioner Bubba McDonald.