The cost of wind energy in the U.S. is at an all-time low of 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, and utility companies are in some cases electing to use wind as an energy source over fossil fuels because of its low cost.
Although wind power grew modestly in 2013 — installations were only 8 percent of those seen in the record year of 2012 — it now meets 4.5 percent of U.S. energy needs, producing enough electricity to power 16 million homes. The country ranks second only to China in installed wind capacity, the report says, and wind power accounts for 33 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions since 2007.
That progress has been heavily dependent on federal, state, and local incentives, however, and wind power’s growth could slow if those incentives expire. Its viability could also fall if natural gas becomes more affordable than wind, the report cautions.