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United States

Cost of US wind energy hits all-time low

UNITED STATES: The price of wind energy in the US is at an all-time low, according to a new report from the Department of Energy.

Power from projects in the centre of the country were the cheapest
Power from projects in the centre of the country were the cheapest

The Wind Technologies Market Report, compiled for the DOE by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found the price offered by wind projects came in at an average of just $25/MWh in 2013, compared with $70/MWh in 2009.

"The continued decline in average wind prices, along with a bit of a rebound in wholesale power prices, put wind back at the bottom of the range of nationwide wholesale power prices in 2013," the report says.

Key to this is the fall in turbine prices, which have dropped 37% from their high in 2009/10. Last year the price came in at $1,630/kW, a fall of around $600/kW.

Turbine scaling is also boosting project performance, the report claims. Since 1998-99, the average capacity of turbines installed in the US has increased by 162% to 1.87 MW in 2013, while the average turbine hub height has increased by 45% to 80 metres, and the average rotor diameter has increased by 103% to 97 metres.

"This substantial scaling has enabled wind project developers to economically build projects in lower wind-speed sites, and is driving capacity factors higher for projects located in given wind resource regimes," the report says.

Although wind power additions slowed in 2013, with just 1.1GW added, wind power has comprised 33% of all new US capacity additions since 2007. Wind currently contributes more than 4% of the country's electricity supply, more than 12% of total electricity generation in nine states, and more than 25% in two states.

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