Electricity Prices are Soaring in Heavy Wind Energy States thumbnail

Electricity Prices are Soaring in Heavy Wind Energy States

By Steve Goreham

United States electricity prices are rising rapidly, up 18.1 percent over the last two years. Renewable energy advocates claim that wind and solar installations produce cheaper electricity than traditional power plants, but power prices are rising as more wind and solar is added to the grid. In fact, electricity prices are soaring in leading wind energy states.

Over a 12-year period from 2008 to 2020, US average electricity prices rose only eight percent, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This was much lower than the inflation rate of 20 percent over the same period. But power prices rose five percent from 2020 to 2021 and an additional 12.5 percent last year. Most of this rise was due to rising US inflation, but the share of electricity generated from wind also rose from 8.4 percent in 2020 to 10.2 percent in 2022.

Headlines announce that electricity generated from renewables is lower cost. Scientific American stated in 2017, “Wind Energy is One of the Cheapest Sources of Electricity, and It’s Getting Cheaper.” In October, 2020 Bloomberg announced that “Wind and Solar Are the Cheapest Power Source in Most Places.”

It is true that the cost of building US wind and solar generating facilities has come down. Wind construction costs are down about 20 percent since 2013 and solar construction costs have fallen more than 50 percent, both approaching the costs for natural gas power plants. But construction costs are only part of the cost of electricity generation.

Electricity prices in states with the highest penetration of wind systems are rising faster than the national average. US average electricity prices rose 27 percent from 2008 to 2022. But in eight of the top 12 wind states, power prices rose between 33 and 73 percent over the 14-year period. Prices rose in Iowa (36%), Kansas (54%), Illinois (33%), Colorado (37%), California (73%), Minnesota (53%), Nebraska (37%), and Washington (35%), which are the number 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 leading states in terms of electricity generated from wind, respectively. Price increases were lower than average in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and New Mexico, the other four leading wind states. The data shows that deployments of wind systems produce higher electricity prices.

In Europe, the nations with the most wind and solar capacity deployed, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden, experience the highest residential electricity prices. Residents of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, where few renewables are deployed, pay half as much per kilowatt-hour as the leading renewable countries. Denmark and Germany have deployed over 1,600 watts per person of wind and solar, the highest density in Europe. Electricity prices for Denmark (29 eurocents per kilowatt-hour) and Germany (32 eurocents/kW-hr) are the highest in Europe, and two and one-half times the prices in the US, where renewable penetration remains lower. In Europe, like the US, wind (and solar) deployments raise electricity prices.

Wind systems increase electricity prices in three ways. First, wind intermittency raises power prices. Wind system electricity output can vary between full-rated output to near zero within a period of only a few hours. Wind systems typically produce between 25 percent and 40 percent of rated output. In 2020, US power plant utilization levels were nuclear (92.5%), natural gas (56.6%), hydroelectric (41.5%), coal (40.2%), wind (35.4%), and solar photovoltaic (24.9%).

The intermittency of wind and solar means that, if always-on electricity is to be supplied, reliable coal, natural gas, and nuclear generators must be maintained as wind and solar systems are added to the power grid. Power system operators know that up to 90 percent of the capacity of traditional generators must remain operational to prevent system blackouts. Therefore, addition of renewables boosts both the capacity and the number of needed systems, raising the cost of electricity.

Second, backup coal and natural gas systems must be run at lower utilization rates as operators push for higher percentages of renewable output. The low utilization levels for coal and natural gas systems in 2020 mentioned above are because these systems are scaled back in favor of wind and solar output. Backup systems are not able to operate profitably at low utilization levels, raising system costs and electricity prices.

Third, wind (and solar) systems require more and longer transmission power lines than traditional power plants. Coal, gas, and nuclear plants are located near population centers and tend to be large-capacity plants. These plants can be connected to the grid with relatively short, high-capacity transmission lines. Wind systems tend to be located in remote areas, such as on ridgelines, often far from cities. Wind and solar are spread out over wide areas and require 100 times the land of traditional plants. Longer transmission systems over wide areas need to be deployed for wind and solar, raising system costs and electricity prices.

As more wind systems are added to the power grid, residents should prepare for soaring electricity prices.

This article was published by CFACT, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and is reproduced with permission.


There is an important runoff election for the Phoenix City Council District 6 on March 14. Conservative Sal DiCiccio (R) is term limited and will be replaced by the winner of this race. The two candidates are Republican Sam Stone and Democrat Kevin Robinson. If you live in District 6 (check here), you either received a mail-in ballot or you must vote in person (see below).

This is a very important race that will determine the balance of power on the City Council. Phoenix, like many large cities in conservative states, has tended blue with the consequences many cites suffer from with progressive governance. Have you noticed the growing homeless problem in our city?

Conservative Sam Stone is the strong choice of The Prickly Pear and we urge our readers in District 6 to mail your ballots in immediately and cast your vote for Sam Stone. Learn about Sam Stone here. Sal DiCiccio’s excellent leadership and term-limited departure from the Phoenix City Council must not be replaced by one more Democrat on the Council (Democrat Robinson endorsed by leftist Mayor Gallego). Sam Stone is a superb candidate who will bring truthful and conservative leadership to the Phoenix City Council at a time when the future of Phoenix hangs in the balance between the great history of this high quality, desert city we can live in and are proud of or the progressive ills of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Mail-in ballots were sent to registered voters in District 6 on the February 15th. Mail your ballot no later than March 7th – it must be received by the city no later than March 14th to be counted. If you are not on the Permanent Early Voting List you must cast your ballot in person.

In-person balloting at voting centers will occur on three days in mid-March:

  • Saturday, March 11: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, March 13: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 14: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m

In-person voting can be done at the following locations:

  1. Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel Ave.
  2. Bethany Bible Church, 6060 N. Seventh Ave.
  3. Devonshire Senior Center, 2802 E. Devonshire Ave.
  4. Memorial Presbyterian Church, 4141 E. Thomas Road
  5. Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave.
  6. Eastlake Park Community Center, 1549 E. Jefferson St.
  7. Broadway Heritage Neighborhood Res. Ctr., 2405 E. Broadway Road
  8. South Mountain Community Center, 212 E. Alta Vista Road
  9. Cesar Chavez Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road
  10. Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th St.

You can also vote in person at City Hall through March 10th on the 15th floor. City Hall is at 200 W. Washington St.