Affordable Power

Facts

  • Wind energy has successfully moved from a marginal alternative to among the lowest cost options for new electricity generation. Wind energy is now more cost-competitive than new coal, hydro and nuclear power. A 2016 report from the US investment firm Lazard found that wind energy is the lowest cost option for any new supply without any subsidies.
  • The cost of land-based wind farms is expected to continue to fall in the future. According to a June 2016 study by the International Renewable Energy Agency, the global average cost of onshore wind could fall by 26 per cent by 2025 as technological improvements continue to be made.
  • The fuel that turns the turbine blades is free; this means that once a wind farm is built, the price of electricity it produces is set and remains at that level for the entire life of the wind farm.
  • Traditional sources of energy are open to extreme price volatility, so the long-term cost-certainty and stabilizing effect of electricity rates from wind farms provide important protection for consumers.
  • The cost to build wind energy continues to decline, with dramatic drops over the past three years while significant efficiency gains are being realized in modern technology and siting.
  • Wind projects have very short construction periods and can be deployed quickly with positive impacts delivered to local communities.

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Amazing facts about the affordability of wind energy

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  • There is an urgent need to invest in new electricity generation and infrastructure after decades of underinvestment. According to the Conference Board of Canada, $347 billion in investment in Canada’s electricity system is required between now and 2030 – and all of these costs will be passed on to consumers.
  • According to the Ontario Energy Board, 45 per cent of the increase in Ontario’s global adjustment since 2006 is due to nuclear power, while only 6 per cent of the increase is due to renewable energy.
  • Wind energy is now the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in most Canadian provinces. For example, contracts awarded in Hydro-Quebec’s most recent request for wind proposals, set a new low average price for wind in Canada of 6.3¢/kWh

Resources

  • Lazard report on Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), Version 10.0 shows that the price of wind energy continues to be one of the least expensive forms of new electricity on both a levelized and a capital cost perspective.
  • “In 2015, renewables accounted for 66 per cent of [electricity] generation in Canada, up from 60 per cent in 2005”, “between 2010 and 2015, Canada’s installed wind capacity grew by 24 per cent per year” and “wind energy is now among the lowest-cost options for new electricity supply in most provinces”. These are three of the key findings in a May 2017 National Energy Board report, Canada’s Adoption of Renewable Power Sources.
  • A March 2017 report by Clean Energy Canada shows that the world’s three largest electricity markets – China, the U.S. and India – were collectively responsible for half of the 2016 global investment in clean energy, which totalled C$348 billion. China has invested over a half trillion dollars in clean energy in the last five years, India has a goal of tripling its renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022, and in the U.S. the fastest-growing occupation is now “wind turbine technician”.
  • Your Home Electricity Bill: A Study on the Costs in Ontario – A study on the costs in Ontario shows that renewable energy accounts for a relatively small part of residential electricity bills. The study includes new data that calculates the role renewable energy plays in electricity bills in Ontario today, and in 2024. Backgrounder: Ontario’s Electricity System.
  • An editorial from the Bloor West Villager that explains how renewable energy isn’t to blame for rising Ontario energy costs.
  • A report by Power Advisory LLC Customer Bill Impacts of Generation Sources in Ontario evaluates and provides a better understanding of the impact of increased amounts of wind generation on Ontario electricity customers’ bills.
  • A report by The Pembina Institute and Greenpeace Renewable is Doable: Affordable and flexible options for Ontario’s long-term energy plan shows that putting conservation first, and supplementing it with a diversified portfolio of green energy sources is a more cost-effective way to meet Ontario’s evolving energy needs.
  • A report by Pembina Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario Electricity Options finds that Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy under the Green Energy Act. In fact, the study indicates that investing in renewable energy today is likely to save Ontario ratepayers money within the next 15 years, as natural gas prices are forecast to start to rise. (Executive Summary P. IV- VII)
  • Environmental Commissioner of Ontario: The True Cost of Renewable Energy and Conservation, puts the true cost of renewable energy and conservation in perspective – the cost of conservation and all the renewable subsidies in 2010 amounted to 0.4 cents of the 13 cents we paid for a kWh in our homes.
  • GL Garrad Hassan: Analysis of 121 potential onshore wind development sites in British Columbia, Canada found that wind turbine prices have dropped 20 per cent while productivity has increased by almost 30 per cent over the last three years. Assessment of the estimated costs of wind energy in British Columbia or key background information is outlined in the summary document.
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Recent Developments in the Levelized Cost of Energy from U.S. Wind Power Projects shows that improved turbine performance alone has made wind’s levelized cost of energy 5 to 26 per cent lower today than it was a decade ago, depending on the wind resource at the project site.
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance “Onshore wind energy to reach parity with fossil-fuel electricity by 2016” predicts that the average wind farm will be fully competitive with all other generation sources by 2016 “the cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines will drop 12 per cent in the next five years thanks to a mix of lower-cost equipment and gains in output efficiency”.
  • Paul Gipe reviews a German Report on the cost of Nuclear Power, while referencing a report by the California Energy Commission which shows that most renewable technologies today, generate electricity for less than nuclear power in 2018. Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation
  • Get the latest information in this Wind Energy Pricing Fact Sheet by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).