Understanding wind turbine price trends in the U.S. over the past decade
On a $/kW basis, wind turbine prices in the U.S. have declined by nearly one-third on average since 2008, after having previously doubled over the period from 2002 through 2008. These two substantial and opposing trends over the past decade – and particularly the earlier price doubling – run counter to the smooth, gradually declining cost trajectories predicted by standard learning curve theory. Taking a bottom-up approach, we examine seven possible drivers of wind turbine prices in the U.S., with the goal of estimating the degree to which each contributed to the doubling in turbine prices from 2002 through 2008, as well as the subsequent decline in prices through 2010. In aggregate, these seven drivers – which include changes in labor costs, warranty provisions, manufacturer profitability, turbine scaling, raw materials prices, energy prices, and foreign exchange rates – explain from 70% to 90% (depending on the year) of empirically observed wind turbine price movements in the U.S. through 2010. Turbine scaling is found to have been the largest single contributor to the price doubling through 2008, although the incremental cost of scaling has been justified by greater energy capture, resulting in a lower cost of wind generation.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Blanco, María Isabel, 2009. "The economics of wind energy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(6-7), pages 1372-1382, August.
- McNerney, James & Doyne Farmer, J. & Trancik, Jessika E., 2011. "Historical costs of coal-fired electricity and implications for the future," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3042-3054, June.
- Yu, C.F. & van Sark, W.G.J.H.M. & Alsema, E.A., 2011. "Unraveling the photovoltaic technology learning curve by incorporation of input price changes and scale effects," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 324-337, January.
- Nemet, Gregory F., 2006. "Beyond the learning curve: factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(17), pages 3218-3232, November.
- Dinica, Valentina, 2011. "Renewable electricity production costs--A framework to assist policy-makers' decisions on price support," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 4153-4167, July.
- Ferioli, F. & Schoots, K. & van der Zwaan, B.C.C., 2009. "Use and limitations of learning curves for energy technology policy: A component-learning hypothesis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2525-2535, July.
- Koomey, Jonathan & Hultman, Nathan E., 2007. "A reactor-level analysis of busbar costs for US nuclear plants, 1970-2005," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5630-5642, November.
- Papineau, Maya, 2006. "An economic perspective on experience curves and dynamic economies in renewable energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 422-432, March.
- Berry, David, 2009. "Innovation and the price of wind energy in the US," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4493-4499, November.
- Schleisner, L, 2000. "Life cycle assessment of a wind farm and related externalities," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 279-288.
- Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark & Barbose, Galen, 2007. "Using the Federal Production Tax Credit to Build a Durable Market for Wind Power in the United States," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 77-88, November.
- Bolinger, Mark & Wiser, Ryan, 2009. "Wind power price trends in the United States: Struggling to remain competitive in the face of strong growth," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1061-1071, March.
- Martínez, E. & Sanz, F. & Pellegrini, S. & Jiménez, E. & Blanco, J., 2009. "Life cycle assessment of a multi-megawatt wind turbine," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 667-673.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:42:y:2012:i:c:p:628-641. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.