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Why States That Produce More Wind Energy Have Lower Power Prices

Business

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released a report this month with a simple premise—the more wind energy available, the lower electricity prices will be.

The organization determined this by comparing the states that get more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind with the rest of the nation. Prices in those states—Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa—dropped by 0.37 percent over the last five years. The rest of the U.S. experienced a 7.79 percent increase during the same period.

Graphic credit: American Wind Energy Association

“During last month’s cold snaps, we saw very high wind energy output play a critical role in protecting consumers across the country from skyrocketing energy prices," said Michael Goggin, senior electric industry analyst at AWEA. "This study confirms that wind energy is providing that benefit every day."

AWEA's report combines data from 15 others around the country that all point toward lower prices accompanying the deployment of wind energy. For example, Massachusetts reported a three-to-one, benefit-to-cost ratio in its state, producing annual net benefits of about $217 million. A Synapse Energy Economics analysis discovered that large investments in wind energy in the Midwest would reduce power-supply costs by $3 billion to $9.4 billion per year—between $63 and $200 per customer per year after accounting for the cost of transmission.

"No other major source of energy can offer that kind of price stability," Goggin said. "Diversifying our energy mix with zero fuel cost, zero emission wind energy is a win-win for consumers and the environment.”

Another study used by AWEA, from Navigant Research showed that 72 percent of U.S. residents support wind power. 

“With the drastic cost declines over the last few years, wind energy offers consumers a great deal today," Goggin said. "That deal will only get better with time because that low price is locked in for the life of the wind project, as the fuel will always be free.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

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