A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has shown that wind power will keep coming down in price until it becomes cheaper than coal, gas, nuclear, and cheap natural gas power generation. Wind power is already competitive (or even better than traditional energy sources) in the long run when emissions, natural resource mining, and health side effects are taken into consideration but this study suggests that the new price parity expected in 2016 will be independent of externalities.
After analyzing the cost curve for wind projects since the mid-1980s, BNEF researchers showed that the cost of wind-generated electricity has fallen 14 percent for every doubling of installation capacity. These cost reductions are due to a number of factors: more sophisticated manufacturing, better materials, larger turbines, and more experience with plant operations and maintenance. Those improvements, combined with an oversupply of turbines on the global market, will bring the average cost of wind electricity down another 12 percent by 2016.
Read a summary of the Bloomberg report at Grist.org.
Britain has started construction on the world’s largest wind power generating installation. This will be a massive increase in renewable energy hitting the power grid in the UK – and a benefit for all thanks to less pollution.
Check out the video on the project:
The 100 turbines, each measuring more than 300ft, will power more than 200,000 homes. It will increase the amount of energy generated from offshore wind in the UK by a third to 1,314MW, compared to 1,100MW in the whole of the rest of the world.
Mr Huhne said the UK is leading the world in an exciting new technology that will cut carbon emissions and boost green jobs.
Conventional wind turbines don’t scale down well—there’s too much friction in the gearbox and other components. So poor, remote communities don’t have any way to harness the power of the wind. Till Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old inventor based in Mountain View, Calif., saw the need for small-scale wind power to juice LED lamps and radios in the homes of the poor. Frayne’s device, which he calls a Windbelt, is a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Prototypes have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines. Popular mechanics has a good article about the device here.
Another plan for a large wind power generation facility has arisen and this time it’s in a state that’s never been mentioned before on Things Are Good: South Dakota, USA. South Dakota is now considering a plan for creating the world’s largest windfarm!
Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif., intends to erect enough wind turbines in several South Dakota counties to produce up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity, said Bob Gates, the firm’s senior vice president of commercial operations.
That would be eight times larger than the biggest wind farm in the world, a 735-megawatt FPL Energy facility with 421 turbines stretching across three Texas counties.
EcoGeek has the lowdown on a high-rise design that supposedly can power itself and up to ten other office buildings. The tower is designed to have spinning floors and will act like a giant windmill, don’t worry all the essentials like elevators are in a central non-rotating concrete core. A neat idea, but one that I do question.