Wind energy in the U.S. is certainly on the rise and is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after methods of energy generation. According to Stephen Byrd, Morgan Stanley's Head of North American Research for Power and Utilities and Clean Energy, power agreements are being made with wind farms as cheap as $25 per megawatt-hour, reported Greentech Media.
Although wind energy receives a subsidy by a production tax credit, the cost is still around $22 per megawatt-hour after tax. If its compared to the viable cost of a gas plant at $30 per megawatt-hour, even with the subsidy, wind energy is the cheaper all-in cost practice in natural energy.
Wind energy projects cheaper in the long run
Although both wind and solar energy technologies are not the cheapest to energy sources to repair, it's important for wind farms to trust parts like gleason spiral bevel gears from Broadwind to keep their wind turbines stable and efficient. According to Greentech Media, the ongoing variable cost is extremely low, so wind farmers have to cover their capital costs over as much units of power production as possible.
The Midwest is flourishing in wind energy because a wind farm can produce power at a capacity factor of 50-plus-percent, which creates cheaper megawatt-hours for those invested in wind energy, according to Greentech. At these rates, wind energy is even challenging Power River Basin coal.
“In the Midwest, those wind plants are, many times of the day, competing against efficient nuclear plants and efficient PRB coal plants,” Byrd said, according to Greentech. “PRB coal plants have a variable cost of between $20 and $25 per megawatt-hour, so in the Midwest, it's fairly vicious competition between very efficient wind farms — which are always called on first because they have no variable cost — and coal and nuclear.”
Wind farms also have the advantage of low onsite energy usage, which usually ranges below 1 percent of energy production, according to American Wind Energy Association. The conventional power plant can use up to 15 percent of its energy production.
The AWEA also reported that wind energy lowers carbon emissions at the rate of 1,190 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of wind. Wind energy is a cost effective resource of energy in the U.S. and is competitive in the Midwest. According to Greentech Media, the U.S. wind capacity rose to 60 gigawatts in 2012. Now the total U.S. capacity of all energy types totals 1,100 gigawatts.
Broadwind Energy specializes in the fabrication of wind turbine towers and provides comprehensive in-field, in-shop and uptower gearbox and blade maintenance, repair and upgrade services for wind turbines.