New Report PROVES Wind Power’s REAL cost!

Average wind farm installation prices have dropped to roughly $1,590/kW (kilowatt). Some projects in the Interior region of the country were installed for roughly $1,200/kW. The national average levelized cost of power purchase agreements (PPA) has reached $20 per megawatt ($20/MWh), or 2 cents per kilowatt hour, with a number of projects in the Interior region venturing below 2 cents. Those prices are below long-term fuel costs for natural gas power plants.

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).

Amazing Free Tool Shows How Wind Power Works

Finally, the WIND Toolkit helps eliminate any guesswork by wind energy advocates regarding newly proposed wind farm projects. Using the old 50 meter, 80 meter or 100 meter wind speed maps use to be the only way the public had any sense of what “good” wind resources looked like. However, those maps always proved too coarse for the average viewer to interpret accurately. Anti-wind activists frequently used outdated maps, some even dating back to the 1980s, to make a case against wind energy. The WIND Toolkit can now provide better analysis for stakeholders interested in learning more about wind energy. As a quick case study, the image below shows the results of the WIND Toolkit query compared to a 100 meter wind speed map in Northeastern North Carolina. The WIND Toolkit shows an average wind speed of approximately 7 meters-per-second (15.7 MPH), but the 100 meter wind map shows speeds of <6 m/s (13.4MPH). That 1 m/s difference results in the difference between a 30% capacity factor and a 40% capacity factor, based on the WIND Toolkit's power curve. In real terms, that is a 33% improvement in capacity factor. North Carolina's first wind farm recently broke ground in that region, and reports suggest average capacity factors of that wind farm to be near 40% – very similar to the results of the WIND Toolkit.

How many jobs do wind farms create?

NREL developed the JEDI model to enable stakeholders and decision makers an easy way to ground-truth jobs and economic development potential associated with many sources of new generation construction and operation. The JEDI model is available for for wind energy, biofuels, solar energy, natural gas power plants, coal-fired power plants, hydroelectric dams, geothermal, petroleum power plants and transmission line construction. Construction impacts, cost estimates and potential tax revenue are all calculated based off of recent real-world examples. Users can tailor inputs of a proposed project by changing the project megawatt size, location and by other variables.

Researchers Blow Away Wind Energy Myths, Prove Wind Power Viability in the South

For utility companies, grid operators and other stakeholders interested in wind energy integration, collecting large quantities of high quality data on wind energy resources is vitally important. However, collecting such data has previously been limited by time constraints, budget constraints, or technical expertise. The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and Vaisala By 3Tier recently published the Wind Integration National Dataset (WIND) Toolkit. Peer-reviewed, and published in the scientific journal Applied Energy, the newly released WIND Toolkit by NREL is the largest, publicly available wind energy dataset, ever. The WIND Toolkit is user-friendly way for anyone to quickly evaluate the viability of utility-scale wind energy resources, and download the data necessary for wind energy grid integration analysis.

Taller Turbines: Big win(d) for Georgia

New wind speeds maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in Georgia with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height, Georgia contains a much greater area of land viable for development. The shading on the map below represents new available land for wind development with modern turbine towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these turbines, over 8,000 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exists in Georgia.

EPA Clean Power Plan Underestimates Power of Renewable Energy to Reduce Carbon Emissions

This blog was written by Steve Clemmer, Director of Energy Research, Clean Energy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and originally appeared on UCS’ blog “The Equation.”  The original post can be found here. UCS released a new analysis [Tuesday] showing that strengthening the contribution from renewable energy can significantly increase the emissions reductions from the EPA’s [...]

11 Reasons Wind Energy Will Work for Georgia

In Savannah June 20, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols hosted an event titled “Wind Energy, Will it Work for Georgia?” Based on the dozens of stakeholders present and expert presentations given, here are 11 reasons why wind energy will, and does, work for Georgia.

Big Wind Turbines, Big Opportunity for the South

The Department of Energy just announced a $2 million funding opportunity for taller wind turbines, which is big news for everyone in the South. Not only could the funding go to a Southern business, but also the research to accompany the funding announcement shows a giant resource potential in the South that has been previously largely unknown.

Boosting Renewable Energy to 25% of Electricity Supply in Western U.S. Would Cut Pollution, Save Billions

The Western U.S. could reap huge benefits in pollution savings and reduced spending on fossil fuels by installing more wind and solar power plants, according to a comprehensive new analysis released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The study found that obtaining 25 percent of electricity in the Western U.S. from renewable energy will reduce carbon dioxide pollution by up to 34 percent and save $7 billion annually in fossil fuel costs.