Long-term implications of sustained wind power growth in the United States: Potential benefits and secondary impacts

Long-term implications of sustained wind power growth in the United States: Potential benefits and secondary impacts

TitleLong-term implications of sustained wind power growth in the United States: Potential benefits and secondary impacts
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRyan H Wiser, Mark Bolinger, Garvin A Heath, David Keyser, Eric Lantz, Jordan Macknick, Trieu Mai, Dev Millstein
JournalApplied Energy
Volume179
146
Issue1 October 2016
Pagination146-158
Date Published07/2016
Abstract

We model scenarios of the U.S. electric sector in which wind generation reaches 10% of end-use electricity demand in 2020, 20% in 2030, and 35% in 2050. As shown in a companion paper, achieving these penetration levels would have significant implications for the wind industry and the broader electric sector. Compared to a baseline that assumes no new wind deployment, under the primary scenario modeled, achieving these penetrations imposes an incremental cost to electricity consumers of less than 1% through 2030. These cost implications, however, should be balanced against the variety of environmental and social implications of such a scenario. Relative to a baseline that assumes no new wind deployment, our analysis shows that the high-penetration wind scenario yields potential greenhouse-gas benefits of $85–$1,230 billion in present-value terms, with a central estimate of $400 billion. Air-pollution-related health benefits are estimated at $52–$272 billion, while annual electric-sector water withdrawals and consumption are lower by 15% and 23% in 2050, respectively. We also find that a high-wind-energy future would have implications for the diversity and risk of energy supply, local economic development, and land use and related local impacts on communities and ecosystems; however, these additional impacts may not greatly affect aggregate social welfare owing to their nature, in part, as resource transfers.

DOI10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.06.123
LBNL Report Number

LBNL-1005834