Friday, June 26, 2009

Significant "Upside" in Wind Energy, According to Pew Center Report

The United States could derive 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030 if wind turbines were installed twice as fast as the wind industry achieved in 2008.

A new report, "Wind and Solar Electricity: Challenges and Opportunities," published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says, "There appear to be no fundamental material, manufacturing, or labor barriers to achieving this" target.

However, additional spending of between $3 and $4 billion per year would need to be invested in the transmission system. Moreover, the report suggested that the grid can manage 20 percent of wind penetration although at a cost of about five percent of electricity generated by wind.

Growing solar-generated electricity would be more expensive than wind. Reaching a one percent solar contribution by 2030 would mean installing 900 megawatts of capacity per year.

Currently, wind and solar contribute about two percent of the entire electricity portfolio. Conventional hydro provides an additional six percent.

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