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Economics

The publication of bids in the latest round of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation in Britain has proved that wind prices are now equal to those of fossil fuel. The lowest bids in Scotland were around $0.043/kW -- the bottom end of the range for thermal generation -- and the average price in England was $0.057/kWh, also well within the prices being quoted by the International Union of Energy Producers and Distributors for coal, nuclear and gas for 2000. Add to fossil fuels their external costs and add to wind its distributed generation value and wind can often be the cheapest option. Ouput from offshore plants is also proving to be 30% greater than predicted. Wind turbine manufacturers, however, say profit margins are being squeezed too hard; money for research is barely adequate. Meantime, spending on photovoltaics -- per dollar of output commercially shipped -- is currently about 40 times higher than spending on wind.

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