As states begin to put their Clean Power Plans (CPP) into place, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has conduced analyses on potential optimal energy sources as part of a state’s electricity mix. The leader: wind.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind’s role has not been widely discussed. As it relates to wind energy, the EIA found (as detailed in a report from AWEA):
- Wind energy plays the largest role in the lowest cost energy portfolio for CPP compliance, with significant wind energy deployment in nearly all regions.
- Recent declines in the cost of wind energy, coupled with the wind’s role in protecting against increases in the price of natural gas, make wind energy the lowest cost compliance options for nearly all regions.
- Using zero-emission wind energy provides states with valuable flexibility that allows for less dramatic changes to the generation mix than using a resource with some emissions.
- Based on EIA’s analysis, wind energy should be viewed as a “no regrets” solution for meeting the CPP.
In an interview with Michael Goggin, senior director of research for AWEA, he said that states are already forming regions and they are in the process of developing their plans and wind energy is playing a role in these plans. AWEA has provided a handbook for states to use as a guide for incorporating wind into the CPP plans.
Today, he noted, wind energy is being transferred from one region to another; however, improving transmission lines will be an important factor for states as they continue to add more renewable energy to their mix and replace aging infrastructure.
Using EIA’s analysis as a guide, Goggin explained that by 2030, the energy generation mix is expected to be: wind (57%), natural gas (10%), solar (14%) and energy efficiency (19%) while the costs of wind significantly declines and in the last four years, wind energy prices have declined by 60 percent along. However, he noted that wind opportunity identified by the EIA is conservative and does not account for changes that the EPA has proposed to the CPP rule that are expected to expand wind energy’s role even further. He added that their costs are outdated and about 15 percent higher than actual wind costs today, so in the future, wind is likely to be even more cost-effective than indicated.
Wind will play a role in all regions, said Goggin, even those that don’t generate the wind electricity themselves. He along with the AWEA team are working with regions to help them develop their plans. The EPA is expected to issue final rules in August.
To learn more about wind’s role in the Clean Power Plan, listen to my interview with Michael Goggin here:AWEA's Michael Goggin Talks Wind, CPP