Cost of wind energy worldwide, 2015

Wind energy costs for 2015 are compared to 2014 costs in WindPower Monthly.  It also compares with costs of nuclear and fossil-fuel based generation.  Following is a tabular representation of the low and median costs for onshore and offshore.


    Onshore Offshore
    Low Median Low Median
2015 Turbine, $/kW    $ 1,070    
  TIC, $/kW  $ 1,200  $ 1,700  $ 4,000  $ 5,000
  O&M, $/MWh    $       19    $       40
  GC, $/MWh  $       50  $       78  $     150  $     192

TIC: Total Installed Cost

O&M: Operations and maintenance cost

GC: Generation cost (assuming it is same as levelized cost of energy

No data is available for the empty cells


I always enjoy this graphic from David Millborrow's article, it encapsulates total installed cost and capacity factor (wind speed):

Comparison of cost of generation


Another record wind energy penetration in US grids

The following report from AWEA reveals high penetration of wind energy into the grid--from high of 66.4% in Colorado to above 40% in ERCOT and SPP.  These are all records set in terms of wind production and wind penetration.  This is notable because it shows that the US grid is able to safely and reliably handle large amount of wind energy. This text is taken from the AWEA blog:

  • The day after ERCOT’s record, the Midwest grid operator (MISO) hit a peak wind generation of 13,084 MW, surpassing its previous peak of 12,720 MWon January 28.
  • The same day, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) also set its record for wind penetration at 43.9 percent on February 19. This was SPP’s third record this month. Two days prior, on Feb 17, SPP set a new wind generation peak of10,439 MW, breaking into the 10 GW of instantaneous output club, and reached a wind penetration of 43.3 percent.
  • On February 18, MISO, ERCOT and SPP simultaneously reached wind outputs above 10 GW.
  • MISO, ERCOT, and SPP all sustained high levels of wind for the entire day on February 19. MISO and ERCOT both sustained average hourly wind output above 11 GW all day, while SPP stayed above 8,400 MW all day. Combined, these three grid operators stayed above 30 GW all day.


Also see a previous blog about record wind energy production: 


Regional penetration of wind energy in Feb 2016

Goldwind, Vestas, GE, Siemens and Gamesa are 2015 top five wind turbine manufacturers

According to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, Goldwind jumped from fourth spot in 2014 to top spot in 2015 with 7.8 GW of onshore wind turbines.  In 2015, Vestas was at number 2 spot with slightly over 7 GW of WTGs and GE was at the third spot with 5.9 GW.  The holders of positions 7 and 10 are also Chinese manufacturers.  The backdrop is 29 GW of wind power was installed in China in 2015.

In the offshore market, Siemens was the top producer with 2.6 GW in 2015.

In the US market in 2015, 8.6 GW of new wind capacity was added out of which GE dominated by supplying 4.8 GW, followed by Vestas with 3.1 GW.  

For more details see, and


Bar chart of GWs of WTG by manufacturers



Classification of anemometers based on accuracy of measurement in different terrains

Accuracy of anemometers plays an important role in wind resource assessment, specifically in the uncertainty associated with the energy calculations.  Higher accuracy anemometers should therefore be preferred for measurement.  The additional cost is usually worth the investment.  Getting a little technical, the P75 and P90 energy estimates will be higher if you use higher accuracy anemometers, which means higher likelihood of getting a project financed.

Accuracy of anemometers is measured in wind tunnels using IEC 61400-12-1 standards.  There are three classes of terrain: 

- Class A: Flat terrain

- Class B: Complex terrain--mountainous terrain

- Class S: Special terrain--peculiar terrain that does not fit A or B

The classification of an anemometer is stated in terms of 3 numbers, for instance:  Class 0.9A, Class 3.0B and Class 0.5S.  In this example, the anemometer has a maximum deviation of +/- 0.9% in measurement error in flat terrain, +/-3% in complex terrain and +/-0.5% in special terrain.

Here is a comparison of the popular anemometers in the market:

  1. Thies first class advanced:        Class 0.9A, Class 3.0B and Class 0.5S
  2. Risoe Windsensor P2546-OPR: Class 1.32A, Class 3.71B
  3. Thies first class:                           Class 1.5A, Class 2.9B
  4. Vector L100:                                 Class 1.8A, Class 4.5B
  5. RNRG Class 1:                              Class 1.01A, Class 8.44B
  6. Vaisala WAA151:                          Class 1.7A, Class 11.1B
  7. RNRG 40C:                                    Class 2.4A, Class 7.7B

For more details see Wind Energy Engineering,  Ammonit website and NRG Systems website.



Wind installations in 2015

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is reporting that 63GW of new wind capacity was installed in 2015 for a total worldwide wind power install capacity of 432.4GW.  The annual market growth in 2015 was 22%.

China added 30.5GW in 2015 for a total install base of 145.1GW and US added 8.6GW in 2015 for a total install base of 74.47GW.

Offshore wind saw 3.39GW of capacity addition for a total of 12.1GW, with Germany taking the lion share (2.28GW).

For more details see and

RE is “not a science project, It’s not a boutique activity to satisfy a mandate. This is central to energy security.”

The above quote is from Richard Kidd, the Army’s deputy assistant secretary for energy and sustainability.  

The context is US Army is buying 15 MW of solar PV and 50 MW of wind power through a 30 year contract.  The interesting part is the cost of energy is lower than the cost of conventional electricity provided by the grid.  For more see

More quotes from the article:

"The Army will pay ... as much as $497.4 million over the life of the deal, about $168 million less than what it would pay for power from the traditional electricity grid"

“We are not spending money for optics or to feel good about our work,” Richard Kidd, the Army’s deputy assistant secretary for energy and sustainability, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We are spending money that either enhances our mission effectiveness or is an investment that saves resources over time.”

Grid integration of wind

I got this table from  

It summarizes on one table all the grid reliability services provided by a wind power plant and compare it to conventional power plants.  It covers LVRT, frequency support, reactive power and voltage control, active power control, frequency response and others.  The technology exists, what is lacking are policies and compensation mechanisms for wind plants to provide these valuable grid reliability services.


Reliability service Wind Conventional generation
Ride-through – Excellent voltage and frequency ride-through, meeting FERC Order 661A requirements– Power electronics electrically separate wind turbine generators from grid disturbances, providing them with much greater ability to remain online through disturbances  – Many cannot match wind’s capabilities or meet Order 661A ride-through requirements
Reactive and voltage control – Wind turbine power electronics provide reactive and voltage controlequivalent to that of conventional generators– Power electronics can provide reactive power and voltage control even when the wind plant is not producing power  -Conventional generation provides this service.
Active power control – Can provide extremely fast response in seconds, far faster than conventional generation– Like other generators, wind will provide this response when it is economic to do so- Xcel Energy sometimes uses its wind plants to provide some or all of its frequency-responsive automatic generation control



– Like wind, many baseload generators do not provide active power control for economic reasons, though they technically can
Frequency response Adding wind can help system frequency response by causing conventional generation to be dispatched down-Wind can provide frequency response, but it is typically more costly for it to do so than for other resources as it requires curtailing wind generation in advance  – Changes in conventional generator operating procedures have greatly reduced frequency response– Only 70-75 percent of generators have governors that are capable of sustaining frequency response for more than one minute, and about half of conventional generators have controls that may withdraw sustained frequency response for economic reasons– “Only 30 percent of the units on-line provide primary frequency response. Two-thirds of the units that did respond exhibit withdrawal of primary frequency response.” So, “Only 10 percent of units on-line sustain primary frequency response.”
Inertial response Can provide with no lost production by using power electronics and the inertia of the wind turbine rotor; this capability is commercially available but not widely deployed because there is no payment for any resource to provide this service  -Conventional generation provides this service.
Increases need for operating reserves, integration cost – Very small impact on total reserve need and integration cost  -Contingency reserve needs and costs are quite large


Records set for wind production in USA in 2015

November was a good month for the wind industry in the US.  The chart below shows the high penetration of wind on specific days (see

Look at these statistics:

- In Texas wind supplied over 40% of electricity in the ERCOT grid for 17 hours in a row (

- "Between mid-September and mid-November, Xcel’s Colorado power system had 20 hours in which over 60 percent of its demand was met with wind generation, and 100 hours in which wind served over 50 percent of demand."

- "Xcel Colorado has noted that in some hours it uses wind plants’ advanced controls to keep system frequency stable. ERCOT requires wind plants to provide the full range of grid reliability services. All of the large grid operators discussed above now fully integrate wind energy into their electricity markets, with wind governed by the same rules as other energy sources."

Wind is therefore reliable source of power that can be successfully integrated with high levels of penetration.


Wind production in regions of US

China installs 30.5 GW of wind in 2015

The total installed wind capacity in China jumped to 145 GW in 2015, with new installations of 30.5 GW.  See

The spurt came as the FiT of wind is scheduled to be reduced in 2016.  For FiT in China see

Goldwind led the Chinese manufacturers in terms of domestic deployment, with 7 GW of installations.

Another country with low wind energy price, Morocco at $25/MWh using reverse auction

In Morocco's 850 MW wind tender, the lowest bid came in at $25 per MWh, while the average bid price was $30 per MWh.  For more information see

Factors influencing the low prices are: remarkable wind resource and concessional finance.

According to the vice minister of energy and environment, new coal power plant would be $80 per MWh.

US is the other market where wind PPA are in the $25 per MWh range or lower, however wind enjoys $23 per MWh of incentive--production tax credit for 10 years.