Wind energy has experienced accelerated cost reduction over the past five years—far greater than predicted in a 2015 expert elicitation. Here we report results from a new survey on wind costs, compare those with previous results and discuss the accuracy of the earlier predictions. We show that experts in 2020 expect future onshore and offshore wind costs to decline 37–49% by 2050, resulting in costs 50% lower than predicted in 2015. This is due to cost reductions witnessed over the past five years and expected continued advancements. If realized, these costs might allow wind to play a larger role in energy supply than previously anticipated. Considering both surveys, we also conclude that there is considerable uncertainty about future costs. Our results illustrate the importance of considering cost uncertainty, highlight the value and limits of using experts to reveal those uncertainties, and yield possible lessons for energy modellers and expert elicitation.
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A free webinar summarizing the findings of the survey will be held on April 29, 2021, from 10:00am to 11:00am Pacific Time (1:00pm-2:00pm Eastern Time, 19:00-20:00 Central European Time). To receive log-in instructions for the webinar, register here: https://lbnl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PBsueOqmTA2K2ygZfjbBiw.