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The Costs Associated with Wind Energy

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 8/30/2008

The wind energy is available abundantly and freely, but there are many other costs associated with it. Let us see various costs associated with with wind turbines and cost of product of power.

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    Wind Energy is Free

    The wind energy is clean source of energy available abundantly and freely in the specified geographical locations. At places where sufficient quantity and speed of wind is available throughout the year, producing electricity from the wind energy is a viable option.

    Just like the thermal power plants the wind power plants, also called as wind farms, are capable of producing large quantities of power. With the thermal power plants the major cost associated with the running of the plant is fuel cost. The thermal power plants need tons of fuel every day to produce the full capacity power. The wind power plants don’t require any fuel so the running cost of the wind power plants is much lesser than the thermal power plants.

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    The Costs Associated with the Wind Power Plants

    Though the wind farms or wind power plants don’t require fuel and have lesser running costs, there are number of other costs associated with it. These have been listed below:

    1) Cost of the land: If the company has to develop large wind farm then it will require very large land that too only in the region where sufficient quantity of air is available during all the times of year. In the present days the land costs have steeply risen in most of the countries. However, the countries committed to the renewable energy source offers some soaps like land at reduced prices, concessions in taxes etc to attract the private companies.

    In certain cases the land can also be hired from the landowners or the farmers as the land required for wind turbines only about 2% of the total land. In the remaining land the owners can carry out farming or other routine works.

    2) The cost of the wind turbines: Another major cost is the cost of the wind turbines, which actually tap the wind energy and convert it into electricity. The role of wind turbines is similar to the turbines in the thermal power plants. In thermal power plants the turbines are driven by the steam, while in wind power plants the turbines are driven by air.

    As per the estimates, the wind farms where large numbers of turbines are installed the cost of the turbines is about $1500-$2000 per kilowatt of power capacity. If the individual wind turbine is installed for the private use, it could cost about $3000 per kilowatt of power capacity.

    3) Interest rate on money invested: Since large sums of money are invested in land and the wind turbines itself, the interest rate on this money is also a major investment in the wind farms.

    In the regions where good flow of air is available the cost of production of one unit of electricity (one kilowatt hour) from the wind farms is five to ten cents. This is higher than the rates charged by the electricity boards producing power from the conventional power plants, but then in future the costs of wind energy are bound to reduce while the costs of electricity boards are bound to increase.

    In the remote areas where the electricity is being generated by the diesel generators, the cost of production of one unit of electricity is about $0.25 to $1.00. This is much higher than the cost per unit of electricity produced by the wind energy.

    Thus at present the wind energy offers electricity at costs that are competitive to the conventional power plants. In the remote areas wind farms are definitely more cheaper. Then there are added benefits of the clean atmosphere offered by the wind farms.

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