Wind is no longer a niche alternative energy industry, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan told attendees at WINDPOWER 2015.
Just one decade ago, wind power was seen as a semi-controversial form of alternative energy, grouped with solar, nuclear, and hydro alternative power resources. However, despite energy policy hurdles, the wind sector has seen exponential growth and cost reductions and now has the government’s endorsement for a low-carbon future. Today, wind power is making up an even larger share of the nation’s power mix to the point where Kiernan even considers wind to be “mainstream.”
While the use and implementation of wind as a power source continues to be debated amongst Congress, especially as it relates to climate change, it is still an important topic to discuss – especially as it relates to projected and future U.S. and international energy use.
As wind grows into the mainstream energy space, it’s also important to note how the cost of wind energy plunged 58% between 2009 and 2013. At least part of that drop can be attributed to the federal PTC (production tax credit), which has lowered the cost of capital for new wind farms.
The U.S. Department of Energy also supports this stance, and in their most recent Wind Vision report, finds that “through continued innovation in technology and markets, the deployment of incremental U.S. wind power generation is both feasible and economically compelling.”
Importantly, it also sets out an ambitious goal of doubling U.S. wind power from its current 4.5% share of U.S. power generation to 10% by 2020, 20% by 2030, calling for wind power to become a dominant source of power by 2050.