Among the renewable sources, wind's chief competitors are hydro and geothermal energy, but these are found only in certain locations and it is generally felt there is not much more large scale hydro to exploit. Landfill gas is competitive and being used widely, but the resources are again limited. The prospects for energy crops are generally reckoned to be good, but prices are still high and the promised breakthrough in commercial gasification processes has yet to fully materialise
The long-term growth trend is likely to become self-sustaining in the near future as the industry gains the confidence to invest in new and improved manufacturing facilities for wind turbine components, helping costs continue their steady downward trajectory. The gap between the cost of wind generated electricity and that from the conventional sources of generation is steadily narrowing. Indeed, on easily accessible sites with good winds and the right conditions for large scale development, the cost of installing a kilowatt of wind capacity is now so low that kilowatt hour prices are the same as those for which gas is being sold. Merchant wind plant have already been built and the numbers can be expected to increase steadily.