Tag Archives: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Department of Energy Releases Annual Wind Market Reports, Finding Robust Wind Power Installations and Falling Prices

U.S. Department of Energy News Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released annual market reports documenting data and trends in wind installations, technologies, costs, prices, and performance through the end of 2018 for three sectors: utility-scale land-based, offshore, and distributed wind.

“Onshore wind energy installation continues to grow across the country, and this Administration has proven that we can pursue renewable energy advancements and deployment, particularly wind energy resources, which are predicted to surpass other sources of renewable power generation this year,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “And with over 25 gigawatts in the development pipeline, U.S. offshore wind is poised to be a significant part of our comprehensive energy portfolio in the coming years.” Continue reading here.

Property values near wind energy projects show no decline

The Grand Island Independent, Opinion written by Lu Nelson,
Policy Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs

In many public forums across Nebraska, local residents have expressed concerns related to proposed wind energy projects in their communities. A consistent worry is the effect wind farms would have on neighboring property values.

In response to these concerns, the Center for Rural Affairs prepared a fact sheet that reviews findings of studies conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — as well as the Universities of Rhode Island and Connecticut — which analyze factors influencing property values prior to the announcement of a project, after the announcement, before construction and post-construction. Read more here.

The fact sheet may be found here.

National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors & Companion Webinar Series

Survey Background and Motivation
The installed wind power capacity in the United States through the end of 2016 was capable of supplying approximately 6.2% of the nation’s electricity demand from about 60,000 utility-scale turbines (Wiser & Bolinger, 2017). Through 2015, almost 1.4 million homes were within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of a U.S. utility-scale wind power project, and each year in the preceding 10 years, turbines placed in large projects (projects with more than 60 turbines) were closer to homes at a rate of approximately 150 feet (46 meters) per year on average.

Experts predict continued reductions in the cost of wind energy (Wiser et al., 2017) and additional wind project deployment in the years ahead (Mai et al. 2017). Achieving this continued deployment will require coordination and cooperation with the communities and community members in which the wind power projects will be located, including local authorities, citizens, landowners, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. These individuals and organizations often look to other communities with wind power projects to understand the potential costs and benefits of moving forward with such a project.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy funded Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) began to lead a 4-year project collecting data from a broad-based and representative sample of individuals living near U.S. wind power projects. The aim was to widen the understanding of how U.S. communities are reacting to the deployment of wind turbines, and to provide insights to those communities considering wind projects.
Download Summary of Results (PDF)

Webinar Series
A Berkeley Lab 4-part webinar series, Understanding Wind Project Neighbors Through a National Survey of Attitudes, began January 30th. Three more webinars will be held on the following dates at 12 p.m. Central Time.

  • January 30th, 2018
    Overall Analysis of Attitudes of 1,700 Wind Power Project Neighbors 
    A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 13, 2018
    Wind Power Project Planning Process Fairness and Attitudes
    This webinar has been completed. A recording of the webinar, presentation and project results are available here.
  • February 27, 2018
  • Predicting Audibility Of and Annoyance To Wind Power Project Sounds Using Modeled Sound Register Here.
  • March 13, 2018
    Comparing Strongly Annoyed Individuals with Symptoms near U.S. Turbines to Those in Surveyed European Communities Register Here.

More information about the webinar series is available here.

Price of Solar Energy in the United States Has Fallen to 5 cents/kWh on Average

News Release, Jon Weiner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 

Utility Scale Solar 2014Solar energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Driven by lower installed costs, improved project performance, and a race to build projects ahead of a reduction in a key federal incentive, utility-scale solar project developers have been negotiating power sales agreements with utilities at prices averaging just 5¢/kWh. These prices reflect receipt of the 30% federal investment tax credit, which is scheduled to decline to 10% after 2016, and would be higher if not for that incentive. By comparison, average wholesale electricity prices across the United States ranged from 3 to 6 cents/kWh in 2014, depending on the region. Read the entire news release here.

Download the full report, Utility-Scale Solar 2014.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory hosted a webinar on September 30, 2015 to discuss the report. To view the webinar, click here

Distributed solar prices in U.S. continue to fall for fifth straight year

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Tracking the Sun VIII

Installed prices for distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) residential and small non-residential systems completed in 2014 were $0.40 per watt lower than in 2013, and prices for large non-residential systems were $0.70 per watt lower, according to Tracking the Sun VIII, the annual Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory solar market report. It is the fifth consecutive year solar installed costs have dropped significantly . . . PV system pricing remains highly variable, the report finds. 20% of the residential systems installed in 2014 were priced at less than $3.50 per watt and another 20% were priced at over $5.30 per watt. Non-residential system pricing was equally variable. The price differences are driven by differences in installers, system design, component selection, market conditions, and local regulations, according to the researchers.

Read more. 

The typical price of a PV system in Nebraska today is $3.50 per installed watt.
See: The Costs of Rooftop Solar in Nebraska Just Keep Declining – And Lincoln is Leading the Way!

Tracking the Sun VII

An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2013 by Galen Barbose, Samantha Weaver, Naïm Darghouth, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, September 2014

As the deployment of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has increased, so too has the desire to track the cost and price of these systems. This report helps to fill this need by summarizing trends in the installed price of grid-connected PV systems in the United States from 1998 through 2013, with partial data for the first half of 2014.

The following are among the report’s key findings:

*   International experience suggests that greater near-term price reductions in the United States are possible, as the median installed price of residential PV installations in 2013 (excluding sales/value-added tax) was just $2.1/W in Germany, $2.7/W in the United Kingdom, $2.9/W in Italy, and $4.0/W in France, compared to $4.4/W in the United States.

* The distribution of installed prices across projects has narrowed somewhat over time, but has remained relatively stable in recent years, and significant pricing variability persists. For example, among ≤10 kW systems installed in 2013, roughly 20% had an installed price less than $3.9/W, while a similar percentage was priced above $5.6/W.

Download the 66-page report here: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/Tracking%20the%20Sun%20VII_Report_0.pdf

Tracking the Sun web link: http://emp.lbl.gov/publications/tracking-sun-vii-historical-summary-installed-price-photovoltaics-united-states-1998-20

 Additional reports from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

How Much Do Local Regulations Matter? Exploring the Impact of Permitting and Local Regulatory Processes on PV Prices in the United States (PDF)

Vote Solar’s Project Permit resource helped provide data for the above report:

Utility-Scale Solar 2013: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (PDF)