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View Diary: The future of power generation (188 comments)

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  •  Jerome, do you know... (none)

    what year the figure showing relative costs of different types of energy was created?

    The reason I ask is that natural gas has gone up quite a bit in the past couple of years, and for that matter coal has gone up a bit too.

    •  Jerome. sensibly, will be asleep (none)
      This site has some interesting answers:

      First, the cost of wind energy is strongly affected by average wind speed and the size of a wind farm. Since the energy that the wind contains is a function of the cube of its speed, small differences in average winds from site to site mean large differences in production and, therefore, in cost. The same wind plant will, all other factors being equal, generate electricity at a cost of 4.8 cents/kWh in 7.16 m/s (16 mph) winds, 3.6 cents/kWh at 8.08 m/s (18 mph) winds, and 2.6 cents/kWh in 9.32 m/s (20.8 mph) winds. Larger wind farms provide economies of scale. A 3-MW wind plant generating electricity at 5.9 cents per kWh would, all other factors being equal, generate electricity at 3.6 cents/kWh if it were 51 MW in size.

      Second, wind energy is a highly capital-intensive technology; its cost reflects the capital required for equipment manufacturing and plant construction. This in turn means that wind's economics are highly sensitive to the interest rate charged on that capital. One study found that if wind plants were financed on the same terms as natural gas plants, their cost would drop by nearly 40%. [4]

      Third, the cost of wind energy is dropping faster than the cost of conventional generation. While the cost of a new gas plant has fallen by about one-third over the past decade, the cost of wind has dropped by 15% with each doubling of installed capacity worldwide, and capacity has doubled three times during the 1990s. Wind power today costs only about one-fifth as much as in the mid-1980s, and its cost is expected to decline by another 35-40% by 2006.

      New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

      by Welshman on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:35:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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