Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has released its 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report. This annual report highlights important achievements for the wind industry. Wind power purchase agreement prices have hit record lows. That’s good news for the South, where wind energy is beginning to make inroads. The National Renewable Energy Lab previously found that new innovative turbines, with taller towers and longer blades, open up billions of dollars worth of wind energy opportunity in the South. Listed below are a few highlights from LBNL’s most recent report.
- Average wind power purchase agreement prices have reached $23.5/MWh, 66% lower than the average wind power prices in 2009.
- Wind turbine technology continues to advance. Hub heights, generating capacity as well as blade length continues to expand, rapidly improving performance and dropping prices.
- Average price for installed projects reached $1,710/kW, or a 34% decline since turbine prices peaked in 2009.
- Iowa is now generating more than 28% of all of its electricity with wind energy. By 2020, the state could generate 40% of its power from wind energy.
- Wind energy installations in the United States grew by 4,858 megawatts last year, representing $8.3 billion in investments. For each megawatt of wind power, enough electricity can be generated for 300 average homes, annually.
- The United States exported $488 million worth of wind turbine components in 2014.
- China has claimed the top spot as global wind energy superpower, with more than 114,000 megawatts of wind power installed; compared to the United States’ 65,877 megawatts.
With new low-cost, high performance wind turbines, the South has become the new frontier for the wind industry. In July, Iberdrola renewables announced its plans to construct North Carolina’s first wind farm. Wind farms have been proposed all across the region, and smart utilities are taking note. Already, over 3,000 megawatts of wind power are currently or are planned to be purchased from southern electric utility companies. With such low-cost wind energy resources, wind farm development, and purchases by utilities, are an inevitability.