Hopefully everyone enjoyed some egg nog and time with the family over the last couple of weeks. Before we get too far into 2016, we wanted to make sure you saw the top five ways wind power ended 2015 on a high note. Here’s a quick roundup of some wind power news you may have missed over the holidays:
1. The Washington Post reported that 2016 could potentially be a record breaking year for wind energy despite low fossil fuels prices, offering further proof that wind is a low-cost, competitively-priced electricity solution:
“Energy analysts say the boom is being spurred in part by improved technology, which has made wind and solar more competitive with fossil fuels in many regions. But equally important, experts say, is better access to financing, as major Wall Street investment houses adopt a more bullish posture toward an industry that was once considered financially risky. In November, Goldman Sachs announced it was quadrupling its investments in renewables to $150 billion.”
In the article, Dan Reicher, Executive Director of Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, agreed a renewable revolution is underway :
“Renewables have turned the corner in a fundamental way… The policy base for renewables has strengthened, both on the incentives side and through mandates…At the same time, the financing of renewable-energy projects has become a mainstream business for Wall Street. The early-stage investments from Silicon Valley for clean energy were small potatoes compared to the massive investments Wall Street is making. It truly is a global business.”
2. Expanding on that idea, The Guardian explained that companies like IKEA, Google and LEGO are increasingly choosing wind energy to power their operations because it makes sense economically.
“Companies want to reduce their emissions and they want access to reliable, inexpensive power. Companies want to know how to achieve these two goals in a way that is quick and efficient. For many of them, wind is the answer. It’s inexpensive and emissions-free (aside from initial manufacturing and installation and service) and it gives the companies control over their energy supply.”
The article’s author John Abraham went on to explain this further:
“Globally, the average cost of wind is $83 per megawatt-hour. This is the levelized cost of electrical delivery. How does it compare to other energy sources? Well the averages for coal and gas are $84 and $98, respectively. In the USA, gas is slightly cheaper than wind but this is the only large economy where that is the case. As a comparison, solar photovoltaic energy averages $122 globally for each MW-hour.”
3. NPR highlighted U.S. wind’s latest milestone: 70 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity. Technological advancements and increased U.S. manufacturing have decreased wind’s costs 66 percent over the last six years, driving the U.S. industry to its high water mark. To better understand just how much electricity 70 GW is, realize that it’s enough energy in one year to drive 26 million electric cars around the world. Or put another way “that’s enough to power about 19 million homes.”
4. AWEA’s Instagram partners finished their cross country wind farm tour, capturing stunning photos of wind energy in our communities along the way. Read all about their trip and what they learned on Vice News.
Instagrammers Brad Romano and Ashley McKinney had this to say about what they called #OurWindyRoadTrip:
“We both grew up and lived in Boston prior to working on this project, so we didn’t have a lot of exposure to wind farms besides a few single turbines spread throughout the state. What we came to understand in visiting the various facilities across the country was how they operate, the impact they have on the surrounding communities, and the environmental benefits of renewable energy.”
5. ERCOT, the grid operator for most of Texas, set wind energy output records in each of 2015’s last four months, reaching 13,883 megawatts in December. At times, wind accounted for nearly 45 percent of ERCOT’s electricity load. More of this good news is likely in 2016, according to an ERCOT spokesman.
“As additional wind resources begin operating in the ERCOT region, we expect to continue setting new records.”