Where Wind Energy is Up, Electrical Prices are Down

February 20, 2014


Sustainable Business:

Electric bills are trending down for people that live in high-wind states, according to research by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The 11 states that get more than 7% of their electricity from wind energy have seen their electric prices decrease by 0.37% over the past five years, in contrast to all other states, where electricity prices have increased 7.79% during that time.

The 11 states are: Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa.

Texas is on the verge of getting 10% of electricity from wind; Iowa and South Dakota already get 25%.

The more wind capacity they have, the more rates have come down.

But don’t AWEA’s word for it – at least 15 studies confirm that as wind energy increases, electric prices come down. Studies have been done by independent grid operators, state governments, academic experts, and others.

For example, research from New England’s grid operator concludes that when wind provides 14% of electricity, prices drop 10%, and when it reaches 24%, prices decline 15%. Find the links to these studies in AWEA’s white paper, Wind Power’s Consumer Benefits:

Website: http://awea.files.cms-plus.com/AWEA%20White%20Paper-Consumer%20Benefits.pdf


6 Responses to “Where Wind Energy is Up, Electrical Prices are Down”

  1. Those are the prices, but what are they actually paying?

    The Federal PTC (production tax credit) isn’t on the bill.
    The 30% Federal investment tax credit (used when there aren’t any profits to offset with PTCs, which have expired anyway) isn’t on the bill.
    The costs of responding to variability may or may not be on the bill.

    If the pump price of gasoline needs to include the military expenditures for defending the sea lanes to the Persian gulf, then the metered price of RE needs to include all the other various costs needed to get it there and make it available on demand (capacity) rather than whenever it feels like putting in an appearance (energy).  It all needs to be counted the same, and that is almost never done.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    ” It all needs to be counted the same, and that is almost never done.”

    Why must they be counted the same?

    We simply can not use fossil fuels in future. We must move to 100% renewables, so a cost comparison is meaningless. OF COURSE fossil fuel energy costs less. So what??????

    • Good point. Why should they be the same? The others have massive subsidies. Giving a subsidy to wind is only leveling the playing field, not tipping it in favor of renewables. Or we could drop the subsidies for everything else and declare that tracking has to meet air and water pollution standards instead of having exemptions. The PTC should be given back to renewables and all subsidies for mature technologies removed. FF would drop like a lead balloon. Still, everything is showing fuel costs rising and renewable costs lowering. Wind is so low, its lowering utility rates everywhere it goes. Windbaggers talk out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to wind and energy prices. First they complain it is unfair (too cheap), then they say its expensive. Riiiiiggghhht. 🙂 Makes me want to play the Bill Cosby routine.

    • Why must they be counted the same?

      Because we need to use the most effective means we’ve got to eliminate carbon emissions, and putting a thumb on the scale to favor certain outcomes means wasting both time and resources we don’t have.

      At the average French grid emissions level of 77 gCO2/kWh, if the typical America vehicle driven 13,000 miles a year was a Tesla Model S, there would be only 400 kg/yr emissions related to the travel.  No other option on the table, existing or proposed, can get close to that.

      Ideally we need NEGATIVE emissions, such as sequestering CO2 created in the synthesis of biomass-based products.  The USA could potentially remove a quarter of a billion tpy or thereabouts that way.  That’s still in the realm of speculation, but it’s a much better prospect than any scheme which uses NG backup.

  3. […] Sustainable Business: Electric bills are trending down for people that live in high-wind states, according to research by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The 11 states that get more th…  […]

  4. andrewfez Says:

    Ray posted a link about Kansas the other day; here it is again, as it’s relevant to the story:


    Kansas’s Self-Destruct Button: A Bill to Outlaw Sustainability

    ‘It seems like every time the Sunflower State pops up in my news feed, it’s for something like this: House Bill No. 2366, a proposed law that would make it illegal to use “public funds to promote or implement sustainable development.”.’


    I recall Kansas is also the state that houses Koch Industry’s HQ and the Koch’s replaced all the state congressional republicans with radical Koch republicans in a full sweep (or ‘coup’ or whatever it’s called: out with the old guys; in with the new guys funded by Koch) recently.

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