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Wind near-cost competitive with fossil fuels, says US Department of Energy

/9th August 2013, Chris Goodall/ The latest data on US wind power provides some extraordinary statistics. During 2012 about 13 gigawatts of new capacity was installed, almost twice the UK’s total wind power. This provided about 43% of the net additions to US generating plant.

The latest data on US wind power provides some extraordinary statistics. During 2012 about 13 gigawatts of new capacity was installed, almost twice the UK’s total wind power. This provided about 43% of the net additions to US generating plant. Most strikingly, the Department of Energy study suggested that US wind farms are supplying power to the various regional grids at an average of $ 40 (£27) a MWh. This is broadly competitive with the cheapest gas-fired generation in the US and little more than half the current price of UK electricity. Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly from the UK perspective, the DoE study suggests that the cost to the grids of integrating wind power is less than $12 (£8) a MWh. This is a tenth of the estimated costs suggested by the Global Warming Policy Foundation last year. It’s no surprise that the DoE’s authoritative and carefully researched work isn’t currently featured on the GWPF website.

Is wind competitive?

By most criteria, US wind power is now nearly competitive with fossil fuels, even in the era of cheap shale gas. The DoE report  suggests that the prices agreed between wind farm owners and electricity buyers (Power Purchase Agreements or PPAs) are now roughly competitive with the top end of conventional generation. Read more: