- New research published this week in the journal Nature analyzes a survey of 163 global wind energy experts and found widespread agreement that prices will decline significantly in the coming decades, Greentech Media reports.
- Under the median scenario, Nature's analysis shows experts anticipate 24% to 30% in cost reductions by 2030 and 35% to 41% by 2050.
- While the United States does not yet have any commercial offshore wind facilities, onshore wind energy provided 4.7% of U.S. electricity last year, according to the Energy Information Association, and topped the list of new capacity for 2015, at 41%.
Last year the federal government extended a $23/MWh production tax credit for wind, a move that could contribute 19 GW of additional capacity deployments over five years. At the same time, the industry says it has cut installed costs 66% since 2009.
It appears most experts expect that trend to continue. Nature this week published research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other groups which "suggest significant opportunities for cost reductions, but also underlying uncertainties."
According to the abstract, under the median scenario, experts anticipate cost reductions up to 30% by 2030 and 41% reductions by 2050, across three wind applications studied.Those costs could go lower; the analysis finds experts predict a 10% chance that reductions will exceed the median.
"Wind energy supply has grown rapidly over the last decade. However, the long-term contribution of wind to future energy supply, and the degree to which policy support is necessary to motivate higher levels of deployment, depends—in part—on the future costs of both onshore and offshore wind," the report said.
While there are no offshore wind facilities producing power in the U.S., it is an area where growth is expected. Deepwater Wind’s 30-MW Block Island project in Rhode Island is expected online later this year, and the company has proposed a 90 MW wind farm 30 miles from New York’s Long Island. That project would be the largest in the country and could be in operation by 2022.
In August, the U.S. Department of Interior announced a proposed lease sale of more than 122,000 acres offshore North Carolina for commercial wind energy leasing. The sale will result in a single lease being awarded in what is known as the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area.