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LBNL/NREL Analysis Predicts Record Low LCOE for Wind Energy in 2012-2013

March 1, 2012

A recent analysis conducted by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that lower capital costs and continued increases in wind turbine productivity will drive down the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for U.S. wind projects constructed in 2012-2013. Estimates focused on changes in capital costs and turbine production indicate that the levelized cost of energy—a standard for comparing wind energy with other sources of electricity generation—for projects in 2012-2013 could be 5% to 26% lower than the previous lows observed in 2002-2003. The most substantial improvements are expected at low-wind-speed sites (e.g., 6-7 meters/second annual average wind speed at 50 meters above ground). These anticipated trends are good news for the wind industry and stand in stark contrast to the period of 2003 to 2010, when increasing turbine prices pushed the cost of wind energy higher. Read the full story in the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Program Newsletter.

—Julie Jones