Wind power is keeping electricity bills low for U.S. homes and businesses, thanks to plummeting wind energy costs driven by technological improvements, finds a new white paper from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The group says the report uses publicly available data and more than a dozen studies from government, utility and other independent sources to explore how wind energy affects consumers' energy bills.
A highlight of the report is just-released U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) data showing that consumers in the states that use the most wind energy have fared much better than consumers in states that use less wind energy. In fact, AWEA says consumers in the top wind-energy-producing states have seen their electricity prices actually decrease by 0.37% over the last five years, while all other states have seen their electricity prices increase by 7.79% over that time period.
"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. This study confirms that wind energy is providing that benefit every day," comments Michael Goggin, AWEA's senior electric industry analyst.
Citing the DOE data, AWEA notes wind energy costs have fallen by 43% over the last four years.
"With the drastic cost declines over the last few years, wind energy offers consumers a great deal today," says Goggin. "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. No other major source of energy can offer that kind of price stability. Diversifying our energy mix with zero-fuel-cost, zero-emission wind energy is a win-win for consumers and the environment."