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REPORT HIGHLIGHTS Technology Advancements and the Value of Wind Energy

A new DOE report from Berkeley Lab finds that the value of wind energy far exceeds its cost. (Image source: NREL)

Wind energy continues to show strong growth, solid performance and attractive pricing According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the levelized cost of new-build projects is just over $30 per megawatt hour (MWh), with wind The costs of power generation far outweigh the grid system, health and climate benefits.

“Wind energy prices have been supported by federal tax incentives, especially in the central United States, and supply chain pressures continue as utility and corporate buyers choose wind power as a low-cost option. Yet it remains low,” said senior scientist Ryan Wiser. Located in the Energy Technology area of ​​Berkeley Lab. “The economy is even better when we consider the health and climate benefits of wind energy,” he added.

Key findings from the DOE’s annual Onshore Wind Market Report include:

Wind power will account for a significant portion of all capacity additions from 2012 to 2021

(Credit: Berkeley Lab)

• The share of wind power in electricity supply is increasing. U.S. wind power capacity will grow at a strong pace in 2021 with 13.4 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity added, representing an investment of $20 billion and 32% of all U.S. capacity additions. increase. Wind energy production has grown to account for more than 9% of his national electricity supply. At least 247 GW of wind power seeks access to transmission systems. 77 GW of this capacity is offshore wind and 19 GW is hybrid power plants that combine wind with energy storage or solar.

• Wind project performance has been improving for decades. The average utilization rate (a measure of project performance) for recently completed projects was close to 40%, significantly higher than previously constructed projects. The highest capacity factor is in the interior of the country.

• Turbines are getting bigger and bigger. Increased plant performance has been driven by larger turbines with longer blades mounted on taller towers. In 2011, there were no turbines with blades larger than 115 meters in diameter, but by 2021, 89% of newly installed turbines will have such rotors. The proposed project shows that the overall height of the turbine will continue to rise.

Average wind power cost in 2021 will be $1,500/kW

(Credit: Berkeley Lab)

•Loww Wind turbine pricing has driven down the cost of installation projects over the past decade. Wind turbine prices will average $800 to $950 per kilowatt (kW) in 2021, up 5% to 10% from the previous year, but significantly lower than in 2010. Average installed costs for wind projects in 2021 will be $1,500/kW, up 40% from their peak in 2010, but have stabilized in recent years. Texas had the lowest cost.

Sales prices for wind power are economically competitive, as shown in this line chart from 2009 to 2022.

(Credit: Berkeley Lab)

• Wind energy prices are rising but remain low at around $20/MWh in the country’s ‘wind belts’. After reaching $75/MWh in power purchase agreements signed in 2009, the national average price for wind power has fallen, but pressures in the supply chain have pushed prices higher in recent years. In the domestic ‘wind belt’, the current price is around $20/MWh. Prices tend to average over $30/MWh in the West and East. These prices, made possible in part by federal tax support, are below the projected future fuel costs of gas-fired power plants.

• The price of wind power is often attractive relative to the market value of wind power systems. The value of wind energy sold in the wholesale electricity market is affected by the location of wind farms, their hourly output profile, and how their characteristics correlate with real-time electricity prices and capacity markets. The market value of wind power will rise in 2021, varying from less than $20/MWh to over $40/MWh depending on the region. This is roughly in line with recent wind energy prices.

• The average levelized cost of wind energy was $32/MWh for plants built in 2021. Leveled costs vary by time and region, but the national average for 2021 was $32/MWh. This is consistent with the last three years, but has historically declined significantly. (Cost estimates do not take into account the impact of federal tax incentives on wind.)

Graphs showing wind grid, health, and climate values ​​exceed leveled costs

(Credit: Berkeley Lab)

• The health and climate benefits of wind in 2021 are greater than those of the grid system, and the combination of all three far exceeds the levelized cost of wind today. Wind power reduces power sector emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide. These savings will be assessed economically at an average of $90/MWh wind or higher for plants built in 2021, depending on the region.

The Berkeley Lab contribution to this report was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Wind Energy Technologies.

Additional Information:
The Complete Onshore Wind Market Report: 2022 Edition, presentation slides summarizing the report, several interactive data visualizations, and an Excel workbook containing the data presented in the report are available for download at Related reports on offshore and distributed wind are also available from the Department of Energy.

A US Department of Energy release on this study is available at

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Founded in 1931 on the belief that the greatest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have won 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and explore the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. . Scientists around the world rely on lab facilities for their unique discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multi-program national laboratory managed by the University of California for the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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