The Plummeting Price of Wind Energy
Bent Christensen, who is responsible for cost projection for Siemens’s wind power division, has estimated that Europe’s offshore wind industry has reached a milestone three to four years ahead of schedule: achieving wind energy at €100 ($113) per megawatt hour (MWh). This means that offshore wind farms could be built without government subsidy because they are economically viable without additional support.
In wind energy, there has been a fast reduction in price over the last three years, falling 27 percent since 2014. According to a Lazard survey in 2016, this means that the energy source has become either cheaper or equal to coal-fired generators, nuclear reactors, and rooftop solar arrays.
Some even predict a further reduction in price — estimating that in the future it will be possible to deliver wind energy at €75 ($84) and €62 ($70) MWh. But this hopeful advancement depends on turbine, cable, and converter technology developing much further. Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind plan to have such technology in place in time for the 2024-2025 North Sea project’s completion.
A Renewable Revolution
Wind power’s fall in price marks a major victory for renewable energy because it makes the power source attractive economically as well as environmentally, which is crucial for its widespread adoption. Other promising news that could advance the trend for adopting wind-power is Denmark providing all their power for a day using the source, and the development of record-breaking turbines capable of producing 216,000 kWh of energy in a 24 hour period.
The decreasing price of renewable energy, however, is not just reserved for wind-power: similar victories are also taking place in the solar energy sector. A recent report by Bloomberg has estimated that in four years solar will be cheaper than coal worldwide, having dropped in price by 58 percent within the last five years.
It is unlikely that our world will use less power as populations increase and industry has to keep up. Therefore, in order to save our planet from pollution and the progression of climate change, we must tinker with the other side of the formula — making the energy we use cleaner and greener. Advances in wind and solar power, in particular, are especially promising, as they lay the path for renewables creating both individual and collective gain.