Dept. of Energy Data: Wind States Have Lower Electricity Rates

Guest Contributor AWEA Michael Goggin.
Originally published on Into The Wind.

A new white paper report finds that wind energy is keeping electric bills low for American homes and businesses, thanks to plummeting wind energy costs driven by technological improvements. The report was compiled by staff at the American Wind Energy Association and 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 major highlight of the report pulls from just-released Department of Energy data showing consumers in the states that use the most wind energy have fared much better than consumers in states that use less wind energy.

American consumers in the top wind energy-producing states have seen their electricity prices actually decrease by 0.37 percent over the last 5 years, while all other states have seen their electricity prices increase by 7.79 percent over that time period. The following chart summarizes how consumers have fared in states that produce more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind (Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa) relative to other states.

Electricity Price Changes, 2008 – 2013

Renewable Energy. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Renewable Energy. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) report displays reduced electricity prices in U.S. states with significant wind power 2008-2013 time frame — while states without significant wind power saw their electricity rates rise in the 2008-2013 time frame. Information drawn from U.S. Department of Energy data.

“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,” said Michael Goggin, Senior Electric Industry Analyst at the American Wind Energy Association.

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • The  ways wind energy protects consumers by displacing the use of more expensive and polluting sources of energy.
  • How wind energy costs have fallen by 43 percent over the last four years, as documented by DOE data.
  • A section that links to 15 studies by independent grid operators, state governments, academic experts, and others confirming that wind energy reduces energy costs for consumers.
  • Dozens of U.S. utilities that are locking in record low wind prices that will protect their consumers from fuel price fluctuations for decades.

As Mr. Goggin explains, “With the drastic cost declines over the last few years, wind energy offers consumers a great deal today. 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.”

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This article, AWEA Report Finds That Wind Turbines Save Money, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).AWEA The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Keep up with all the latest wind industry news at: http://www.aweablog.org/blog/

100% Renewable Energy Primer + COP 19 100% Renewable Energy Side Event

by Zachary Shahan

COP 19
Image Credit: Solar panel, wind turbine & globe via Shutterstock

Originally published on Planetsave.

At the United Nations’ upcoming COP 19 event in Warsaw, the REN Alliance is scheduled to “introduce the theme of a 100% renewable energy future, and introduce case studies on how to attain this vision.” The side event is supposed to touch on technical integration of renewable energy resources, policies, financing, and more.

Speakers will include Ms. Jennifer McIntosh of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), Ms. Tracy Lane of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), Ms. Karin Haara of the World Bioenergy Association (WBA), and Mr. Stefan Gsaenger of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). I’m sure they will give excellent presentations that are both inspirational and useful. And it is great to see that the REN Alliance has pulled together top global leaders from the four biggest renewable energy sectors.

A 100% renewable energy future is something I have written about several times. First of all, for anyone interested in the subject (and we all should be!), I think it’s worth looking at a number of large studies conducted by researchers at several different universities, governmental agencies, and organizations who have come to very promising conclusions regarding how much renewable energy the world and specific countries could develop at a competitive cost. These studies come to important findings such as:

Seriously, these are must-read summaries of excellent reports on the subject of switching to renewable energy on a large scale. And if you have the time, digging into the actual studies would be even more useful.

It’s also very useful to learn a bit about some of the countries and cities that have completely or almost completely switched to renewable energy for their electricity supply. For example, some leading examples include Iceland, which now gets 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources; Tokelau, which has hit 100% renewable energy; Denmark, which is now getting nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources and is planning to get 50% from wind power alone by 2020; Scotland, which is aiming for 100% electricity from renewable energy by 2020; Samsø, a 100% wind-powered island; and Güssing, Austria, which is also already 100% powered by clean, renewable energy.

Another thing worth noting, whether you intend to attend this COP 19 side event or not, is that projections for how much renewable energy will be installed in the coming decades vary widely, but no matter who you ask, renewable energy will grow at a very strong rate. The projections regarding how much renewable energy will be installed vary greatly based on the assumptions made by the researchers, of course, but even before the assumptions come the political goals with which the research team is going into the project – these often shape the assumptions used. No projection in this arena is perfect, and it’s very worthwhile to find out what the assumptions of a study are before referencing it.

Also, lastly, one of the key points of discussion when it comes to how much renewable energy is “possible” is the issue of renewable energy intermittency. I highly recommend reading this article about the fallacy of that intermittency concern – read it, re-read it, and be sure to share it with others. Also, the prequel to that piece was one I wrote about utility company CEO’s who tore down the renewable energy intermittency concern back in 2011 in a utility company CEO roundtable at a solar power conference. That is also a must-read, in my humble opinion.

If you will be at COP 19 and are interested in attending the REN Alliance side event, “Integrated technologies towards 100% renewables: Case studies and ex. on country and regional level,” it is scheduled for 16:45–18:15 on Monday, November 18, in room 1.

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This article, 100% Renewable Energy Primer + COP 19 100% Renewable Energy Side Event, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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Auto companies choose sustainability as a Core Value

by John Brian Shannon

Automakers embedding Sustainability As A Core Value

An international team of Volkswagen executives at the LEED Platinum certified VW Chattanooga plant, following the ‘Think Blue’ five-year (2012-2018) global sustainability initiative, have developed a comprehensive, four-stage Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology that now serves as the template for its manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Baseline references in four key performance indicators (KPI’s) – energy, water, waste, CO2 and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) have been established to mark progress.

With Think Blue, Volkswagen management aims to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste, and (VOC’s) at its manufacturing facilities another 25 percent by 2018. Information courtesy of cleantechnica.com

BMW to power Leipzig factory by wind energy

In addition to winning many prestigious awards for sustainable production practices, BMW is powering its Leipzig factory with four massive wind turbines located near the facility, which assembles more than 200,000 cars per year. See; BMW Group Dow Jones Sustainability Index Leader for 8th consecutive year.

Mercedes too, has upped the ante on sustainable production practices — and now boasts the largest selection of electric vehicles in the world.

Not all Electric Vehicles are boring, perhaps this little blue number will pique your interest…

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive
2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

Mercedes says the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive will hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and a moment later, you will find that it is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour.

AMG’s latest supercar comes with 740 of the quietest horsepower you will ever own and can be recharged in 3 hours.

The automakers have responded to calls for sustainability in their production facilities and vehicle materials with passion, and continue to post huge gains in those areas.

But who would have thought that they could make sustainability so much fun for consumers? I’m getting on the bandwagon all over again!

JOHN BRIAN SHANNON

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