Wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity. This marks the first time that the environmentally friendly power generation technique has achieved this title.
Energy experts particularly like wind power due to the ability of wind turbines to function on their own without additional sources of power. Traditional coal and gas plants require fuel in order to function. That fuel costs money, meaning that energy companies cannot produce electricity without opening their wallets.
With wind power, the cost of generating electricity is free. Once the wind project is built, it sustains itself.
The result is that coal and natural gas power plants are being used less. Meanwhile, more wind projects are being developed.
Renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power only represent a small fraction of generated electricity. In 2014, they only represented 5% of all electricity produced in the United States.
However, wind and solar plants are now large enough in number that they have an influence over when energy companies run coal and natural gas plants. Since wind and solar energy are free, energy companies will choose renewable sources of energy whenever it is possible. It’s only when not enough wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining, that the companies will revert to traditional non-renewable energy sources which costs them money.
With wind and solar plants growing at an exponential rate, they have more influence in the energy industry than ever before.
Energy analyst Luke Mills says, “Renewables are really becoming cost-competitive, and they're competing more directly with fossil fuels. We're seeing the utilization rate of fossil fuels wear away."
Additionally, the trend is causing an economic shift, as companies are becoming extremely reluctant to invest money into a coal or natural gas plants. Such plants will be used less frequently as wind and solar energy become the leading sources of energy in America.
Meanwhile, subsidies offered by the United States are making investments in renewable energy more attractive than ever before. The costs involved are continuing to drop, as wind and solar energy is quickly becoming some of the cheapest energy to produce.
With wind turbines and solar facilities having extremely long lifespans, those investments go a very long way. As the prices for establishing renewable energy facilities continue to drop, these alternatives will become more prevalent in the future.