Wind energy is an affordable source of new electricity – costs are declining while efficiency is increasing.
While all new sources of electricity generation will cost more than current sources of supply that have been built and paid for decades ago – wind energy is more cost-competitive than new installations of coal with carbon capture and storage, small hydro, and nuclear power.
The fuel that turns the turbine blades is free; this means that once a wind farm is built, the price of electricity it produces is set and remains at that level for the entire life of the wind farm.
Traditional sources of energy are open to extreme price volatility, so the long-term cost-certainty and stabilizing effect of electricity rates from wind farms provide important protection for consumers.
The cost to build wind energy continues to decline, with dramatic drops over the past three years while significant efficiency gains are being realized in modern technology and siting.
Wind projects have very short construction periods and can be deployed quickly with positive impacts delivered to local communities.
Amazing facts about the affordability of wind energy
There is an urgent need to invest in new electricity generation and infrastructure after decades of underinvestment. According to the Conference Board of Canada, $347 billion in investment in Canada’s electricity system is required between now and 2030 – and all of these costs will be passed on to consumers.
According to the Ontario Energy Board, 45 per cent of the increase in Ontario's global adjustment since 2006 is due to nuclear power, while only 6 per cent of the increase is due to renewable energy.
At its current rate of 11.5 cents per kWh in Ontario, wind energy is cost-competitive with all other new sources of electricity generation. Published reports peg nuclear’s all-in cost at anywhere between 25-28 cents/kwh.
A report by Pembina Behind the Switch: Pricing Ontario Electricity Options finds that Ontario consumers would see virtually no relief from high electricity prices if the province cancelled its support for renewable energy under the Green Energy Act. In fact, the study indicates that investing in renewable energy today is likely to save Ontario ratepayers money within the next 15 years, as natural gas prices are forecast to start to rise. (Executive Summary P. IV- VII)
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario: The True Cost of Renewable Energy and Conservation, puts the true cost of renewable energy and conservation in perspective – the cost of conservation and all the renewable subsidies in 2010 amounted to 0.4 cents of the 13 cents we paid for a kWh in our homes.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance "Onshore wind energy to reach parity with fossil-fuel electricity by 2016" predicts that the average wind farm will be fully competitive with all other generation sources by 2016 “the cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines will drop 12 per cent in the next five years thanks to a mix of lower-cost equipment and gains in output efficiency”.