‘Wind is cheaper than new coal’

Melanie Gosling Cape Times 27 October 2012.

Cape Town – Wind is the now the cheapest form of electricity generation, with an average price of 89c a kilowatt hour compared to 97c/kWh for Eskom’s new coal-fired power stations.

This was said by Roger Price, chief executive officer of Windlab, an international wind energy company that is investing in wind energy in South Africa.

“The costs are unlikely to go up because, unlike coal, there are no input costs as wind is free,” Price said.

When comparing the prices of electricity generation for wind and coal, one had to compare the price of electricity generation by new power stations, not that by those whose construction costs were paid off decades ago.

This would mean comparing wind power with Eskom’s new Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations.

“Eskom said to Parliament that electricity from Medupi and Kusile would be 97c/kWh,” Price said.

“The University of Pretoria did a study which says it could be 120c/kWh.

“In the second round of bids for wind energy the average price was 89c/kWh.

“So wind is already cheaper than new-build coal.”…

(Editor’s note: And nuclear power is more expensive than coal power, so wind is cheaper than nuclear power too, so lets drop the coal and nuclear plans and concentrate on renewables. If only it were that easy! Although, with our Minister’s dictatorial powers of “determinations”, she could “determine” whatever she likes. So why does she like investing in nuclear power and fracking development? Lobbyists?)

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2 thoughts on “‘Wind is cheaper than new coal’

    • Yes, wind is cheaper even when the wind is not blowing! This is because the Power Purchase Agreements are constructed such that the Independent Power Producer is taking the no wind risk. If the the IPP doesn’t produce any power then Eskom (who is generally the buyer at present) doesn’t pay. The risk Eskom does take is that the IPPs might produce power when Eskom doesn’t need it or not produce power when Eskom does need it. However, providing the wind farms are distributed widely over the country, wind atlas records show that the wind has always blown somewhere, some of the time. So as long as the grid can get the energy to where it is needed, and as long as Eskom has some up and down flexibility (which they have through the peaking generators and pumped storage facilities) all will be well!

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