With the decreasing market of coal plants and the use of PTC’s, wind energy has seen an opportunity to grab its share of the market, but can it stay in the race with solar and natural gas prices decreasing?
After viewing the “U.S. Wind Energy Market Forecasts” at AWEA Windpower 2017, the consensus is an emphatic yes. Experts from top consultants gathered at the show to give their take on where the market is headed. Each presentation, backed by intensive research, gave more validity to the already rising industry. With the future of renewables unclear due to the change in Government leadership, panelists reassured attendees that there is no direction but up.
It is projected that there will be an equal increase of about 5% in market share for each of the three contenders – natural gas, solar & wind. So, how does wind compete and gain more of the market share and lower costs?
The PTC tax credit will still be in effect through 2020 with options to repower and retrofit turbines to help the operator extend their credit. The increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard is looking to be the replacement for the PTC as it fades out. With 31 states having implemented an RPS, it is looking to be the new standard to advance the renewables market.
The wind industry is still leaning on the PTC and RPS to drive the market growth, but cutting incremental costs will help to make wind more sustainable. Improvements in technology are helping to increase efficiency in the industry and decrease costs. Sentient’s DigitalClone® Live technology is predicting the life of turbines to help operators move from costly corrective maintenance to predictive health maintenance, which lowers their cost of energy. The ability for operators to use Sentient and forecast the spend of each of their assets can help to ease their way into a world without the PTC.