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November is here, and that means peak foliage, turkey stuffing, and the release of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy analysis. For electricity geeks, it’s an early holiday gift. And each year the gift keeps getting better and better for renewable energy.

Both the wind and solar industries are relentlessly driving down cost and improving technology performance, and the technologies are now in a better position to compete than ever before. In fact, according to Lazard, wind is the cheapest source of new power generation in many U.S. markets (regardless of incentives). Even more exciting, wind is quickly becoming competitive with existing conventional power plants, positioning it for continued growth in an era of relatively flat electricity demand.

Just how affordable is wind power? The short answer: really affordable.

The longer answer: it largely depends on what part of the country you are in. In areas where winds are strong and steady, wind is unambiguously the cheapest option for new power. Think of states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and up through the Dakotas. In these strong wind regions, Lazard pegs the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind to be as low as $29 per megawatt hour (MWh). As you move to less windy places, the cost increases but wind remains competitive with other technologies.

Chart courtesy of Lazard Inc.

The low cost of wind energy today is due to the rapid cost reduction American wind power has achieved over the last decade. Looking back to 2009, the industry has been able to lower the cost of wind energy 69 percent. In more concrete terms, the lowest cost MWh of wind energy generated in 2009 cost $101 to produce. Today, the same MWh costs $29. That is a $72 discount!

Even further cost reductions are expected in coming years as the technology scales and further innovations are realized. As a result, companies like NextEra Energy Resources are predicting the cost of wind energy to fall between $20-$25/MWh absent the PTC in the mid-2020s.

Chart courtesy of Lazard Inc.

Importantly, the low cost of wind doesn’t fluctuate over time. When locking in a contract with a wind power plant, buyers get complete price certainty, because there are no fuel costs that could change over time—after all, the wind is always free. Because wind contracts commonly stretch 20 years or more, utilities and consumers can be assured of low prices for decades.

In contrast, conventional power plants are subject to fuel price volatility. For example, a 25 percent increase in the cost of natural gas can result in a five percent increase in the LCOE of a combine cycle plant. Typically, these costs are passed along to consumers. So wind’s stable prices help keep more money in the pockets of American families and businesses. For example, wind saved Texans $5.7 billion from 2010 to 2017, according to a recent report.

Lazard’s analysis also highlights the emerging trend of renewable energy becoming increasingly cost competitive with existing power plants. This is especially true for wind, which is now competitive in strong wind regions with the marginal cost of electricity generation from existing resources such as coal and nuclear power. And if the industry can achieve the $20-$25/MWh price mark post-PTC, the economics will be even more compelling to use wind to supply more of America’s electricity moving forward.

Chart courtesy of Lazard Inc.

This report adds another chapter to the record showing the strong downward cost trajectory of wind and solar power in the U.S. With further cost reductions expected, the outlook for wind energy remains bright.

Development of Wind Energy in Hamburg: Challenges and Opportunities

Green growth in Colombia is becoming a major priority for the country as recent reports from the Ministry of Mines and Energy warn of the impact of El Nino on the economy, which has already decreased the country’s GDP by 0.2% in 2015. It is clear that policies need to be put in place for climate change adaptation. The Ministry has highlighted an important tool achieve this objective – non-conventional sources of renewable energy (FNCER).

Integrating FNCER’s into Colombia’s energy mix will simultaneously lower their carbon emissions and strengthen the country’s power generation matrix to buffer against the increased variability brought on by climate change. To do this, a specific mechanism has been put in place for Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) long-term contracting in the energy wholesale market. On the 2 January 2019, the first call for auction of long-term PPAs will take place, attracting a great interest from the industry, investors, and bidding specialists in renewable energy.

In this one-day interactive seminar organised by GWEC for the first time in Colombia, we will gather high-level figures from this group of stakeholders together with energy authorities and regulators to address any questions and issues surrounding the bidding procedure for the development of wind projects to participate in this inaugural auction. From policy, to market, to technical content – this seminar will provide you with all the information you need to drive wind industry development in Colombia.

See the draft programme for the seminar here.

The sessions will conducted in Spanish only.

Entry is free of charge for the first edition of this event.

Register for the event here.

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Vietnam Wind Power!

Following on from the success of the first conference in 2018, GWEC will be holding its second edition of Vietnam Wind Power Conference in Hanoi on 11-12 June 2019, where  we expect to attract around 400 delegates. 

Vietnam’s establishment of the Feed-in-Tariff in August 2018 has created renewed momentum for the country’s wind market and attracted a rush of development projects. There is already 187 MW of installed wind capacity in the country, and the Vietnamese government has set a target for wind development at 800 MW by 2020, 2,000 MW by 2025 and at 6,000 MW by 2030. 

However, there are still a number of regulatory challenges to be addressed in order for project developers to be able create PPAs that are bankable from the point of view of international project finance, while the long term potential and system impact of renewables has yet to be fully recognised in long term planning.  During our full-day conference on 12 June, we’ll be addressing these topics as well as other pressing issues relating to the development of a sustainable wind and renewables industry.  

Experts from the international and national wind industry, financial institutions, high level representatives from government and other competent authorities from Vietnam, will set the scene for a discussion on what needs to be achieved to smooth the way for further development.

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Save the Date! 11-12 June 2019

Vietnam Wind Power ….
organised by the industry
... for the industry

Global Wind Energy Council

The Global Wind Energy Council helps open up new markets for wind energy. GWEC has a proven track record of success in helping to build the wind energy industry in emerging markets around the world, including China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, India, Argentina, and Vietnam