The Future Cost of Wind Power : Capital costs, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), economics, costs and future outlook for wind power generation

Aug 04, 2015, 15:27 ET from ReportBuyer

LONDON, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Executive summary

Chapter 1 The economics of wind power

Wind power is capital intensive with most of the investment required upfront. The largest capital cost component is the turbine itself which can account for between 40% and 80% of the total capital cost of an onshore wind installation. Costs offshore are higher because of the more expensive operating environment and the greater difficulty establishing a foundation so the proportion of capital cost taken by the turbine is generally lower than onshore. Turbine cost fell from 1980 until 2002 when prices started to rise again, peaking in 2009 before falling further. Technological advances and greater overall efficiency are continuing to bring costs down. This is feeding into capital cost trends which are following turbine prices by falling. There are regional variations in capital costs, with costs lower in India and China than in Europe or the USA but regional differences are narrowing as the market becomes more global. With capital cost the dominant component of the cost of energy, the levelized cost of electricity from wind plants is falling too and onshore wind is beginning to compete with other technologies, particularly new coal. There is a growing consensus that onshore wind will reach parity in many parts of the world by the end of the decade, if not before. Offshore wind will take longer but could be competing with the main conventional sources of power by the middle or end of the third decade of the century.

Chapter 2 Future market and economic prospects for wind power generation
The cost of wind power has continued to fall compared to many other technologies over the past five years and is now approaching the level at which it can compete with conventional technologies. Power from natural gas and coal remains cheaper (without carbon capture and storage) but the steady growth in renewable penetration from both wind and solar power is leading to coal and gas-fired plants operating for less of the time, a factor which adversely affects their economics. On the other hand the low cost of wind power is leading governments to reduce subsidies to wind. By the end of the decade wind power could be the second cheapest source of electricity after natural gas in many markets. Growth of wind power is expected to continue strongly in the major markets of Europe, Asia and North America. Markets in Latin America are
advancing more slowly and wind power in Africa remains a rarity

Key questions answered by this report

What is wind power generation going to cost?
Which wind power generation technology types will be the winners and which the losers in terms of power generated, cost and viability?
Which wind power generation types are likely to find favour with manufacturers moving forward?

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