The future of wind power – the latest research & expert opinions

It looks like there is no stopping the momentum of wind power. The average cost of wind energy has reached an all-time low that beats fossil fuels in some places, and wind power capacity grew by 20 per cent worldwide last year.

New ideas for technologies are being created and implemented all around the world and older designs are being improved on.

But where exactly is wind power speeding along to?

The answer: exciting places. People can expect to see rising advances in wind technology, significantly lower prices in wind power and a huge increase in wind energy generation in the coming years.

Turbine technology will continue to advance.

As research and development has increased in the realm of wind turbines, advances and new discoveries have been made. This maturation process will continue, turning turbines into even more cost-efficient machines.

A few of these advancements are detailed below:

  • Turbines’ capacity factors will increase. Last year, wind turbines’ capacity factor, or percentage of time wind turbines are active, increased to 50 per cent as a result of better site selection and turbine efficiency, according to Rick Needham, director of energy and sustainability at Google, in a Forbes article.

This is a big leap forward for wind energy. In earlier years, the capacity rate was under 30 per cent.

Turbines’ activity time can only increase in the future as even more efficient technologies and mature site selection processes are developed.

Click here to check out some interesting wind energy innovations, including bladeless wind power.

Not only do many of these designs look like they came out of a super cool sci-fi movie, but some may prove to be very promising additions to wind power’s future.

  • Wind is becoming more predictable. This is extremely important in reducing costs and exercising efficient management of the electricity produced from wind.

According to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), operators will become more aware of the predictability of wind and the quality of commercial forecasting services and software tools in the decades to come.

Although wind prediction progress has increased significantly over the past several years, higher awareness of wind predictability and the quality of forecasting tools in the future should result in increased accuracy of the predictions.

This will lead to wind being an even more reliable power source, which will reduce costs, increase efficiency and boost people’s confidence in the technology.

The price of wind power will keep going down

Good news: Onshore wind is already “by far the cheapest large-scale renewable energy source that can be deployed at a significant scale,” according to the UK government’s website. But even better news is that the price of wind technology is going to get even cheaper.

As wind technology matures, the efficiency of wind turbines will increase, making them more cost-effective.

According to research done in 2011 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, an average wind farm will produce power that is economically equal to fossil-fuel electricity by 2016.

The price of wind turbines will drop as a result of higher installed capacity, improved capacity factors and lower operations and maintenance cost.

Fossil fuel prices, on the other hand, will incline in future years because they are finite resources.

“While fossil-based prices are on a cost curve that goes up, renewable prices are on this march downward,” said Rick Needham, director of energy and sustainability at Google during a presentation at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco

Wind is a fixed and unlimited resource that can only get cheaper as new technology is developed. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, will become rare products as they start to deplete, causing prices to skyrocket.

Investing in wind turbines with Boythorpe Wind Energy makes wind power even more cost-efficient than it usually is. Click here to see how you can work with Boythorpe to get a return on your investment within two years.

There will be way more wind power in the future

The UK is legally committed to having 15 per cent of the UK’s energy demand produced by renewable resources by 2020. To reach this goal, 35 to 45 per cent of electricity must be produced from environmentally friendly sources, according to the North Devon Green Party. This is a huge amount compared to the 9.4 per cent of electricity contribution from renewables to UK electricity in 2011.

Because wind power is the most mature and one of the most inexpensive of these renewable sources, it will be heavily relied on to reach the UK’s goal, according to the Authority of the House of Lords.

This means one thing: a massive increase in wind power generation and wind turbine development. The government should continue to support the production of wind turbines through feed-in-tariffs and other schemes in order to meet its targets.

In a High Renewables scenario created by the European Commission in its “Energy Roadmap 2050” document, wind power is expected to provide more electricity than any other technology in 2050. Both offshore and onshore wind will significantly contribute to this advance.

Wind is going to play a very important role in the future of the world and its energy generation. Its improvements and successes are blowing ahead at a steady pace and it doesn’t seem as if they will stop any time soon.