Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

NREL Releases New Wind Study

Posted by Rich Sweeney on May 13, 2008

The DOE, in conjunction with Black & Veatch and AWEA, finally released its long awaited 20% Wind Energy by 2030 study (PDF) yesterday. I haven’t read the whole thing yet as I’m still swamped at work, but here are some quick highlights from the DOE press release:

  1. Annual installations need to increase more than threefold.  Achieving 20 percent wind will require the number of annual turbine installations to increase from approximately 2000 in 2006 to almost 7000 in 2017.
  2. Costs of integrating intermittent wind power into the grid are modest. 20 percent wind can be reliably integrated into the grid for less than 0.5 cents per kWh.
  3. No material constraints currently exist. Although demand for copper, fiberglass and other raw materials will increase, achieving 20 percent wind is not limited by the availability of raw materials.
  4. Transmission challenges need to be addressed.  Issues related to siting and cost allocation of new transmission lines to access the Nation’s best wind resources will need to be resolved in order to achieve 20 percent wind.
  5. Most notably, the report identifies opportunities for 7.6 cumulative gigatons of CO2 to be avoided by 2030, saving 825 million metric tons in 2030 and every year thereafter if wind energy achieves 20 percent of the nation’s electricity mix.

More to come on this once I’ve had a chance to go through it carefully.

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