Adding more wind power to the electric grid could reduce wholesale market prices by more than 25 percent in the Midwest region by 2020, according to a new analysis conducted by Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid.
Wind power could drive down the wholesale price of power up to $10 per MWh in the near term and up to nearly $50 per MWh by 2030. Those savings would be passed along to consumers through lowering retail electricity prices by $65-$200 each year.
The study evaluated the electric power market in the upper Midwest including all or most of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and parts of Montana, Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio.
The report states that wind power has been getting cheaper. The projected cost of coal-fired power has begun to climb; the global coal market has given rise to higher coal prices with new EPA environmental controls contributing to the move away from coal.
Market price declines will lead to reduced energy costs. In one scenario, prices were $3.9 billion to $7.9 billion per year lower than baseline costs with the addition of 20 GW of wind, and from $6.1 to $12.2 billion per year lower than baseline costs with the addition 40 GW. These cost savings will exceed the annual costs of transmission improvements needed to integrate this level of wind power.