"Will cheap oil drive wind energy out of the electricity market?" This is one of the most popular questions Walter Christmas, wind energy technology instructor at Ecotech Institute, gets asked by his students.
With oil prices falling, many students have cause for concern about the future of wind energy. In an article for Wind Systems magazine, Walter responds to the question about wind energy's future with a look back at the past and examination of the present.
Wind vs. Cheap Oil
Some important points Walter makes about cheap oil and the future of wind energy in his article include:
- Oil is a nonrenewable resource with proven price instability. On the other hand, wind energy is a heavily front-loaded investment with relatively inexpensive and predictable operations and maintenance costs.
- Cheap oil has a very favorable impact on wind farm construction budgets. How? Lower fuel costs means more room for profits for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), wind farm developers and owners.
- Oil has become almost exclusively a transportation fuel; something with which wind has very little to do.
- Lower oil prices now help wind energy grow faster; higher oil prices later will make people turn to more fixed, predictable costs and profits.
To read the full article, which includes an in-depth explanation of these and other insights about wind energy versus cheap oil, click here.