Why Is Wind Power Good?
Utilities across the country are increasingly turning to wind when installing new power sources. It’s not only cheap, it’s green too.
In 2018, utilities chose wind for new generating capacity 21% of the time. And over the last 10 years, wind power made up 28% of all new U.S. generating capacity.
With 96,433 megawatts (MW) installed, the U.S. is now the second-largest market for wind power. Why is wind becoming so popular here?
With utilities, it’s all about the cost of power. And the price for wind power has been dropping like a stone in a vacuum.
In fact, wind power is now cheaper than natural gas!
Wind detractors like to point out that the only reason wind is cheaper is because of the federal renewable electricity production tax credit. But that’s simply not the case.
Wind farm operators do get a tax credit of $0.023 per kilowatt-hour of generation for the first 10 years of operation. And it’s true that it reduces generation costs.
But the credit is set to expire at the end of this year. Even without it, wind will still be cheaper than natural gas.
Technology, as it always does, has played an integral role. New turbine designs are constantly raising the amount of power generated.
Employing bigger, more efficient turbines means we need fewer of them. It also means we get a lower generated cost per MW.
Using fewer turbines also means smaller sites and reduced site work. That decreases construction costs and so on.
But Texas isn’t the only state loading up on wind. There are now 14 states where wind provides more than 10% of in-state power generation.
Today, wind provides about 6.5% of all electricity in the U.S. But we are well behind more than a dozen other countries, as you can see below…
The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts an additional 11 gigawatts (GW) of wind power will be added to the U.S. capacity this year. 2020 should see another 8 GW added.
All of this new wind power has been a big shot in the arm for the American economy. Today, more than 500 factories in 43 states are making wind-related materials and parts. And more than 100,000 Americans are employed by the wind industry.
Investing in the wind sector is one of my top trends to watch. So you can bet you’ll hear more from me on the matter as the U.S. fights its way up that list.