Although wind energy has grown rapidly, its long-term contribution to energy supply depends, in part, on future costs and value, Berkeley Lab-led study suggested.
echnology and commercial advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
As noted, future onshore and offshore wind costs will decline 37–49% by 2050, resulting in costs 50% lower than predicted in 2015. This is due to cost reductions witnessed over the past five years and expected continued advancements. If realized, these costs might allow wind to play a larger role in energy supply than previously anticipated.
Notwithstanding the maturation of both onshore and offshore wind technology, there is substantial room for continued improvement, and costs could be even lower: experts predict a 10% chance that reductions will be 38%-53% by 2035 and 54%-64% by 2050.
At the same time, there is uncertainty in these projections, illustrated by the range in expert views and by the “high cost” scenario in which cost reductions are relatively modest.
The study summarizes a global survey of 140 wind experts on three wind applications – onshore (land-based) wind, fixed-bottom offshore wind, and floating offshore wind.
The anticipated future costs for all three types of wind energy are half what experts predicted in a similar Berkeley Lab study back in 2015. The study also uncovered insights on the possible magnitude of and drivers for cost reductions, anticipated technology trends, and grid-system value-enhancement measures.
Wind has experienced accelerated cost reductions in recent years, both onshore and offshore, making previous cost forecasts obsolete. The energy sector needs a current assessment. Our ‘expert elicitation’ survey complements other methods for evaluating cost-reduction potential by shedding light on how cost reductions might be realized and by clarifying the important uncertainties in these estimates.
….said Ryan Wiser, senior scientist at Berkeley Lab.