When the polar vortex hit the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states January 6-7, 2014, wind energy saved electricity users at least $1 billion in two days, according to an analysis released last week by the American Wind Energy Association.
“Driven by high demand and low supply, electricity and natural gas prices rose to dozens of times their normal levels in many regions. The Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states were particularly hard hit by these abnormally cold temperatures and the resulting energy prices spikes,” write analysts Greg Hresko and Michael Goggin.
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“There and in other regions, wind energy provided large quantities of critical electricity supply when it was needed most, keeping the lights on and reducing the impact of these price spikes.”
With zero fuel costs, “wind is one of the few energy sources that offers perfect fuel price stability,” AWEA notes. “For all other major conventional sources of electricity, fuel prices cannot be locked in for the long term and are often set by the spot market. The costs of these fuel price increases and risk are passed directly on to consumers through their electric bills.”
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