The Cost of Wind Energy

As of June 2015, wind power is providing about 4% of Canada’s electricity demands.  2012 was the first year in which Ontario saw more electricity generated by wind than by coal.  One explanation, increasing efficiency and decreasing cost.  A perfect formula to make wind power one of the most competitive sources of energy.  There are multiple factors that impact the competitiveness of wind energy as compared to other renewable sources as well as conventional forms such as fossil fuels. One of the biggest factors has to be cost.

When looking at cost studies, Lazard, an international financial advisory and asset management firm, is a source commonly quoted. In their latest study, version 8, released in late 2014, they examine the cost components of 16 different energy technologies, 10 alternative and six conventional.  Their chart below shows Onshore Wind with the lowest levelized cost. Although potentially expensive to build, the lack of ongoing fuel costs makes wind power extremely competitive.

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Additionally, because of factors such as lowering cost of system components and increased efficiencies, the cost of onshore wind has actually dropped by 56% over the last five years.

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Cost is only one factor that impacts the competitiveness of wind power.  CanWEA will hold their Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto, Canada from October 5-7, 2015.  The plenary session at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct 7th will be Competitiveness of Wind – The Lowest Cost Power Around… But for How Long? Through an interactive panel format, this session will explore four key factors that will determine wind’s current and future competitiveness:  pure energy cost, evolution of technology, value to the grid and financing.  Together, the panel will explore and debate how these factors may continue to favorably position wind energy such that it is able to succeed in competing for future opportunities against rival electricity generation technologies. More information on this session and the conference as a whole can be found here: http://windenergyevent.ca/program/.