WASHINGTON—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 highlight of the report is just-released Department of Energy 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. 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
“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.
The report highlights a number of ways in which wind energy protects consumers by displacing the use of more expensive and polluting sources of energy. A main driver is that wind energy costs have fallen by 43 percent over the last four years, as documented by DOE data. The study also examines 15 studies by independent grid operators, state governments, academic experts, and others confirming that wind energy reduces energy costs for consumers. Finally, the report documents the 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.”