The impact of Production Tax Credits on the profitable production of electricity from wind in the U.S.

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The impact of Production Tax Credits on the profitable production of electricity from wind in the U.S.

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Title: The impact of Production Tax Credits on the profitable production of electricity from wind in the U.S.
Author: Lu, Xi; Tchou, Jeremy; McElroy, Michael Brendon; Nielsen, Chris

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Citation: Lu, Xi, Jeremy Tchou, Michael B. McElroy, and Chris P. Nielsen. 2011. “The Impact of Production Tax Credits on the Profitable Production of Electricity from Wind in the U.S.” Energy Policy 39 (7) (July): 4207–4214. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2011.04.034.
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Abstract: A spatial financial model using wind data derived from assimilated meteorological condition was developed to investigate the profitability and competitiveness of onshore wind power in the contiguous U.S. It considers not only the resulting estimated capacity factors for hypothetical wind farms but also the geographically differentiated costs of local grid connection. The levelized cost of wind-generated electricity for the contiguous U.S. is evaluated assuming subsidy levels from the Production Tax Credit (PTC) varying from 0 to 4 b/kWh under three cost scenarios: a reference case, a high cost case, and a low cost case. The analysis indicates that in the reference scenario, current PTC subsidies of 2.1 b/kWh are at a critical level in determining the competitiveness of wind-generated electricity compared to conventional power generation in local power market. Results from this study suggest that the potential for profitable wind power with the current PTC subsidy amounts to more than seven times existing demand for electricity in the entire U.S. Understanding the challenges involved in scaling up wind energy requires further study of the external costs associated with improvement of the backbone transmission network and integration into the power grid of the variable electricity generated from wind.
Published Version: doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2011.04.034
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:34730509
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