Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Wind Contract Cheaper Than Coal, Nuclear

Daily Kos: BFD: New Wind Contract Cheaper Than Coal, Nuclear

The utilities — National Grid, Northeast Utilities, and Unitil Corp. — would buy 565 megawatts of electricity from six wind farms in Maine and New Hampshire, enough to power an estimated 170,000 homes. The projects, in various stages of permitting or development, are expected to begin operations between 2014 and 2016.
John Howat, senior energy analyst at the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center, said he needed to review the details before he could provide a thorough assessment of the contracts. But his initial reaction to the price — on average, less than 8 cents per kilowatt hour? “Wow.”
For a comparison, in the same time frame gas is projected to cost 7 cents/KWH, coal 10 cents/KWH and nuclear 11 cents/KWH. A dollar a month may not seem like a lot. But if wind is cheaper than coal & nuclear, why would you ever build a new coal-fired or nuclear power plant? And that's not even starting to account for all the climate change, public health and wildlife benefits that come with switching from coal to wind. When the cost of pollution is factored in, both wind and solar power blow the doors off of coal and are competitive with gas.
Why should we go all-in on wind when gas is projected to be slightly cheaper? Because New England is already dangerously dependent on gas, leaving us vulnerable to price spikes like we saw last winter. And since gas plants can fire up much faster than coal plants, gas and wind actually go very well together. (No, that was not a fart joke. Let's keep moving.)

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