Wind Power Has Become The Cheapest Power Generation Mode In Europe

- Oct 19, 2018-

Recently, the Portuguese power company EDP released a report saying that wind power has become the cheapest power generation mode in Europe in comparison with the cost of generating electricity from fossil energy power generation, hydropower and nuclear power.

The cost of renewable energy generation is rapidly declining. This is an inevitable trend of technological advancement and increasing scale of installed capacity. It is no news, but the key nodes in this decline process still deserve our attention.

Recently, the Portuguese power company EDP released a report saying that wind power has become the cheapest power generation mode in Europe in comparison with the cost of generating electricity from fossil energy power generation, hydropower and nuclear power.

EDP is the largest energy company in Portugal and the fourth largest wind energy operator in the world. About 8.7 GW of the 24 GW of annual power generated by the company is onshore wind power.

In the report, EDP said that the cost of power generation for onshore wind power is cheaper than that for coal-fired power generation and natural gas power generation. The specific figures are: about 20% cheaper than natural gas power generation and one-third cheaper than coal-fired power generation. Cost reductions have made onshore wind power one of the most economically attractive power generation models in Europe.

In Europe after the sovereign debt crisis, the development of clean energy has become the choice of many countries to increase economic stability and reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuel imports. In this context, wind energy is expected to continue to receive strong support from European governments.

In addition to the realistic choices mentioned above, Europe is the birthplace of the new energy strategy and the pioneering force in the development of a global low-carbon economy. There, people are more environmentally conscious, and they are more inclined to develop renewable energy such as wind power and solar energy.

In a survey released in March this year, 64% of French people believe that wind power is an effective energy solution, especially in the context of reducing the proportion of nuclear power in France and energy transformation. 80% of respondents believe that it is necessary to invest in the construction of wind farms before the end of the life cycle of fossil energy power plants.

On May 28th, a poll published by the British newspaper The Guardian showed that wind power has become the most popular form of energy in the UK. Nearly half of the more than 2,000 respondents said they could accept land-based wind farms within five miles of their homes. In contrast, respondents supported only 5% of respondents who built coal-fired power plants within 5 miles of their home.

Of course, on a global scale, the development of wind power is not always smooth. João Mansonone, director of the EDP Renewable Energy Division, said that in many countries, there is still misunderstanding about wind power. For example, some people think that wind power will damage the local landscape and hinder the habitat and reproduction of birds. Wind power development still faces many difficulties.

Mansonetto, for example: "For example, in coal production and exporting countries such as Australia, in order not to be eliminated, existing coal-fired power plants and gas are often obstacles to the development of renewable energy such as wind power and solar energy."

Mansonetto said that wind power is ready in the process of competing with fossil energy, but wind power needs a fair playing field. After all, the current global subsidies for fossil fuels are hundreds of billions of dollars. He also suggested that if the world wants to achieve low-carbon development, it is necessary to reduce subsidies for fossil energy and polluting power stations, so that the competitive advantage of wind power will be more obvious.

Although the EDP report is based on the development of wind power in Europe, the company also said that the cost of onshore wind power in the United States is lower. Even in the context of the shale gas boom in North America and the significant decline in the cost of natural gas power generation, the cost of gas-fired power generation in the United States is still higher than that of onshore wind power. According to the data given by the EDP, the cost per megawatt hour of onshore wind power in the United States is between $20 and $40.

The EDP report also believes that in some emerging countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and major Asian countries, the cost of wind power is also lower than the cost of gas-fired power generation.


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