Wind power hits lowest price on record

Source: By Timothy Cama , The HIll • Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The cost of electricity from wind power fell to its lowest point on record last year as the industry continued its growth pattern, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

A Monday report from DOE said wind power that utilities bought last year in purchase power agreements, the main measurement for comparing costs, was 2.35 cents per kilowatt hour, the drop of two-thirds from its 2009 peak.

Wind saw the most growth of any power source last year and, with 66 gigawatts installed, now accounts for 4.9 percent of of the country’s electricity demand, DOE found.

“With declining costs and continued technological development, these reports demonstrate that wind power is a reliable source of clean, renewable energy for American homes and businesses,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.

“Through continued investments and the help of stable policies, we’re confident that wind power will keep playing a major role in creating jobs and shaping America’s clean energy future.”

The Obama administration is especially happy about the news, because wind power is a key piece of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon rule for power plants, which seeks to replace high-carbon-generating capacity like coal with lower-emitting sources, like wind and other renewables.

The growth last year came despite problems with the wind production tax credit, a federal tax provision that gives credits for producing electricity from wind.

Congress allowed the credit to expire at the end of 2013. It renewed the credit retroactively for the entire year in late December, but did not extend it.

A separate report released Monday found that distributed wind power, which includes on-site or other small wind power installations, grew by 66 megawatts in 2014, and now accounts for almost a gigawatt of capacity nationally.