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How wind’s record low prices are driving a ‘big build cycle’


There are three important things utilities need to know about wind right now.

The first is what the U.S. Energy Information Administration concluded about wind’s role in Clean Power Plan (CPP)-imposed greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions.

The second is how to compare today’s record low natural gas prices with today’s record low wind prices.

And third, utilities need to know what will happen to the competitiveness of wind between 2016, when the current build cycle slows, and the early 2020s, when CPP compliance becomes urgent.

“Electric utilities now consider wind to be a mainstream energy source and part of the portfolio,” explained Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Senior Scientist Ryan Wiser, co-author of LBNL’s just-released 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report. “It is not just something they have to do because of the state renewables mandate but something that can be an economic solution for meeting their load.”

2014 Wind Technologies Market Report

Record low prices and new technology

“Wind PPA prices have reached all-time lows,” the paper reports. Based on prices from the Midwest, where electricity tends to be cheapest, wind’s national average PPA price in 2014 “fell to around $23.5 per MWh nationwide.”

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