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Creators/Authors contains: "Wiser, Ryan"
  1. This paper evaluates potential changes in the power system associated with sustained growth in wind generation in the United States to 35% of end-use demand by 2050; Wiser et al. (2016) evaluate societal benefits and other impacts for this same scenario. Under reference or central conditions, the analysis finds cumulative wind capacity of 404 gigawatts (GW) would be required to reach this level and drive 2050 incremental electricity rate and cumulative electric sector savings of 2% and 3% respectively, relative to a scenario with no new wind capacity additions. Greater savings are estimated under higher fossil fuel costs or withmore » greater advancements in wind technologies. Conversely, incremental costs are found when fossil fuel costs are lower than central assumptions or wind technology improvements are more-limited. Through 2030, the primary generation sources displaced by new wind capacity include natural gas and coal-fired generation. By 2050, wind could displace other renewables. Incremental new transmission infrastructure totaling 29 million megawatt-miles is estimated to be needed by 2050. In conjunction with related societal benefits, this work demonstrates that 35% wind energy by 2050 is plausible, could support enduring benefits, and could result in long-term consumer savings, if nearer-term (pre-2030) cost barriers are overcome; at the same time, these opportunities are not anticipated to be realized in their full form under 'business-as-usual' conditions.« less
  2. In this report, we evaluate individual options that have the potential to stem the decline in the marginal value of variable generation (VG) with increasing penetration levels. We focus only on the effectiveness of mitigation measures for wind and PV.
  3. Despite impressive declines in average prices, there is wide dispersion in the prices of U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) systems; prices span more than a factor of four. What are the characteristics of the systems with low-prices? Using detailed characteristics of 42,611 small-scale (<15 kW) PV systems installed in 15 U.S. states during 2013, we identify the most important factors that make a system likely to be low-priced (LP). Comparing LP and non-LP systems, we find statistically significant differences in nearly all characteristics for which we have data. Logit and probit model results robustly indicate that LP systems are associated with:more » markets with few active installers; experienced installers; customer ownership; large systems; retrofits; and thin-film, low-efficiency, and Chinese modules. We also find significant differences across states, with LP systems much more likely to occur in some states, such as Arizona, New Jersey, and New Mexico, and less likely in others, such as California. Our focus on the left tail of the price distribution provides implications for policy that are distinct from recent studies of mean prices. While those studies find that PV subsidies increase mean prices, we find that subsidies also generate LP systems. PV subsidies appear to simultaneously shift and broaden the price distribution. Much of this broadening occurs in a particular location, northern California.« less
  4. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Wind Technologies Market Report provides an annual overview of trends in the U.S. wind power market. You can find the report, a presentation, and a data file on the Files tab, below. Additionally, several data visualizations are available in the Data Visualizations tab. Highlights of this year’s report include: -Wind power additions continued at a rapid clip in 2016: $13 billion was invested in new wind power plants in 2016. In 2016, wind energy contributed 5.6% of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 10% of total electricity generation in fourteen states, and 29% tomore » 37% in three of those states—Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas. -Bigger turbines are enhancing wind project performance: Increased blade lengths, in particular, have dramatically increased wind project capacity factors, one measure of project performance. For example, the average 2016 capacity factor among projects built in 2014 and 2015 was 42.6%, compared to an average of 32.1% among projects built from 2004 to 2011 and 25.4% among projects built from 1998 to 2001. -Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs: Wind turbine prices have fallen from their highs in 2008, to $800–$1,100/kW. Overall, the average installed cost of wind projects in 2016 was $1,590/kW, down $780/kW from the peak in 2009 and 2010. -Wind energy prices remain low: After topping out at nearly 7¢/kWh for power purchase agreements (PPAs) executed in 2009, the national average price of wind PPAs has dropped to around 2¢/kWh—though this nationwide average is dominated by projects that hail from the lowest-priced Interior region of the country (such as Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma). These prices, which are possible in part due to federal tax support, compare favorably to the projected future fuel costs of gas-fired generation. -The supply chain continued to adjust to swings in domestic demand for wind equipment: Wind sector employment reached a new high of more than 101,000 full-time workers at the end of 2016. For wind projects recently installed in the U.S., domestically manufactured content is highest for nacelle assembly (>90%), towers (65-80%), and blades and hubs (50-70%), but is much lower (<20%) for most components internal to the turbine. -Continued strong growth in wind capacity is anticipated in the near term: With federal tax incentives still available, though declining, various forecasts for the domestic market show expected wind power capacity additions averaging more than 9,000 MW/year from 2017 to 2020.« less
  5. Wind power capacity in the United States experienced strong growth in 2016. Recent and projected near-term growth is supported by the industry’s primary federal incentive—the production tax credit (PTC)—as well as a myriad of state-level policies. Wind additions have also been driven by improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technologies, yielding low power sales prices for utility, corporate, and other purchasers.
  6. We model scenarios of the U.S. electric sector in which wind generation reaches 10% of end-use electricity demand in 2020, 20% in 2030, and 35% in 2050. As shown in a companion paper, achieving these penetration levels would have significant implications for the wind industry and the broader electric sector. Compared to a baseline that assumes no new wind deployment, under the primary scenario modeled, achieving these penetrations imposes an incremental cost to electricity consumers of less than 1% through 2030. These cost implications, however, should be balanced against the variety of environmental and social implications of such a scenario.more » Relative to a baseline that assumes no new wind deployment, our analysis shows that the high-penetration wind scenario yields potential greenhouse-gas benefits of $85-$1,230 billion in present-value terms, with a central estimate of $400 billion. Air-pollution-related health benefits are estimated at $52-$272 billion, while annual electric-sector water withdrawals and consumption are lower by 15% and 23% in 2050, respectively. We also find that a high-wind-energy future would have implications for the diversity and risk of energy supply, local economic development, and land use and related local impacts on communities and ecosystems; however, these additional impacts may not greatly affect aggregate social welfare owing to their nature, in part, as resource transfers.« less
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