The near term economics of wind in the United States have become somewhat less attractive though are still competitive with thermal generation, reports Ryan Wiser of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The capacity weighted average price of electricity from wind plant in 2008 was about $50/MWh, reflecting a steady increase from around $30/MWh in 2002 and 2003. Improvements in overall performance and wind farm capacity factors have slowed and possibly even declined in the past two years. Although wind turbine prices have softened through 2008 and 2009, they still remain high by historical standards. Wind power prices are likely to increase further in 2009, says Wiser, as developers continue to deploy turbines ordered at previous peak prices and owners require higher yields in a troubled financial environment. But in a market constrained by financial considerations, there is growing competition among established manufacturers and a growing market share on the horizon for new and smaller manufacturers, which should bring turbine prices down, says Wiser.
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