Declining costs of largescale wind power production

The economics of large-scale wind power production are competitive with fossil fuel energy production, with costs per kWh as low as 4 or 5 cents. As technologies mature, the price of large-scale wind power has declined and wind now competes, without subsidies, with fossil fuel power production. In the last two decades alone, the cost of wind power has dropped around 90 percent. The average cost of utility wind power capital expenditures in 2000 was $790 per kilowatt (compare this to over $10,000 per kilowatt for solar power). When environmental costs are factored into the equation, wind is the cheapest form of alternative energy available.

Enhancing the economics is that wind power can be installed in small increments. Individual turbines may be installed one at a time, and then connected together when the time comes. This makes for easier capital equipment budgeting. Very few other alternatives can be built incrementally, with the exception of solar, but even then it's best to install a complete solar system upfront. Wind farms can begin producing energy when only a few turbines are completed, so the payback is very quickly realized compared to other investments (nuclear power plants take ten years to build, and are very expensive to boot).

Tracking wind power around the world

In 2003, there were more than 65,000 wind turbines cranking out over 39,000 megawatts of power the world over. These provided power to around 45 million people. This number is up over 300 percent from only a decade earlier. Government studies conclude that wind will grow by a factor of 15 in the next two decades alone, producing enough power to provide 6 percent of global electrical energy needs.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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