Wind Energy Has Officially Become Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

Wind Energy Has Officially Become Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

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  • The headline is misleading in one crucial respect by omitting one crucial world. Wind energy has officially become cheaper than **most** fossil fuels. The article itself breezes (sorry, had to) breathlessly (sorry, had to) past the missing issue:

    >this means that the energy source has become either cheaper or equal to coal-fired generators, nuclear reactors, and rooftop solar arrays.

    Issue: It forgets to mention natural gas.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration has a wide variety of dense (but definitely not user-friendly) charts for all kinds of energy generation metrics:

    Their section on levelized costs of installed power are here, released April 20, 2017, so quite recently: and (PDF link).

    There are lots of tables reflecting projections for 2019, 2022, and 2040. The quick version is this, though: absent tax credits, which currently are indeed large enough to bring wind power installation below the price of gas power installation (weighted using the current official projections for utilization ratio for both technologies), natural gas still has the advantage (of course I’m pretty sure this study is America-only, so foreign readers should take this with a grain of salt–but then again, other countries would have different tax credit systems, too). The gap is not large anymore, but wind has not overtaken natural gas just yet.

    Don’t get me wrong, the trendline is in that direction. Natural gas might be the hare and wind might be the tortoise about to slowly but surely catch up. But don’t hand the race to the tortoise while the hare is still in the lead.

  • While it’s running perhaps. But to store it to provide the load consistancy that nat gas does, is an order of magnitude off still.

  • Wind energy has not officially become cheaper than fossil fuels, yet.

  • That’s wonderful. Too bad wind is still highly limited by region and in terms of globally reducing pollution it’s the equivalent of a pet project.

  • I feel like there has been way too many misleading titles like this on this subreddit and I’m always checking the comments for people calling out their bullshit.
    Could the mods edit the titles or delete the posts to avoid spreading false information and demoting clickbait?

  • One issue that I think doesn’t get talked about enough is that things like wind energy are being priced in an environment that still has plenty of fossil fuel infrastructure and availability in place. If the goal is for renewables to largely replace fossil fuels. How much will it then cost to make all that concrete for the turbine’s footing? To produce all that steel? To truck all those super heavy loads to the site? Etc.

    In some ways the renewables industry is like some people running a business out of their parent’s garage, rent free, using dad’s tools. Doing good work, but there’s a whole lot of expensive real world problems they simply haven’t had to deal with yet.

  • Too bad it only works during the day, still need fossil fuels!

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