Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The true cost of wind energy is higher than most cost estimates calculate

A report prepared for the Institute of Political Economy at UTAH State University titled


This report explores the true cost of producing electricity from wind power. Rather than creating a new cost estimate, we analyze the findings of prominent cost studies by experts in the energy field. Each study includes different factors in its estimate of the cost of wind power. We break down each of these factors and explain the significance of each. These factors include: capital costs, operation and maintenance costs, capacity factor, transmission costs, baseload cycling, social and environmental costs, and the cost of government subsidies. Other factors are more difficult to quantify, but nevertheless add to the true cost of wind power. Such factors include: opportunity cost of taxpayer dollars, reduced reliability of the grid, and higher electricity prices. 

A detailed report that comes to the following conclusion:


The true cost of wind energy is higher than most cost estimates calculate. Mandates requiring the use of wind energy increase electricity costs for consumers, and subsidies mask the actual cost of doing so. RPS require intermittent renewable energy to exist, but at the expense of utilities and consumers. The PTC makes wind power cheaper for utilities and consumers, but at the expense of taxpayers. Through such policies, U.S. policymakers have essentially decided that electricity consumers will have wind power, even if it is more expensive. The cost of this decision has fallen to U.S. taxpayers and consumers of electricity. When weighing the costs and benefits of wind power, not including all of the hidden costs makes wind power appear to be a more attractive option than it actually is. Energy policy decisions, however, should be based on a more complete estimate of the cost of wind energy.