A new report by researchers from Berkeley Lab has raised the possibility that we are underestimating the potential for and uncertainty of wind energy cost reductions.
There has been a lot of coverage lately of the dramatic cost reductions for wind energy over the last few years, and the potential this has for challenging fossil fuel-based electricity generation. The most recent of these headlines was only last week, when the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its Medium-Term Renewable Market Report, highlighting already low wind (and solar) prices, and the potential for these cost reductions to deepen, by as much as 40% to 50%.
However, new research from Berkeley Lab, and published in the journal Nature Energy, has raised the possibility that we are underestimating the potential for cost reductions in wind energy, as well as the uncertainty around wind energy cost reductions. The consequences of such assumptions could have significant impact on the industry, leading to low estimates of wind deployment, under-appreciation of the uncertainty in wind deployment, and under-investment in wind research & development (R&D).
The study, Expert elicitation survey on future windenergy costs, is the largest ever “expert elicitation” ever conducted on an energy technology, surveying 163 of the world’s foremost wind energy experts, in a project led by Berkeley Lab, NREL, the University of Massachusetts, and participants from the IEA Wind Technology Collaboration Programme Task 26.