The effects of the global recession have reached far and wide, affecting nearly everyone in some fashion. Good news in this climate is hard to come by, yet amidst the harsh economic realities of the current downturn, there may be a glimmer of silver lining for those involved in the wind energy business. As market forces have driven many companies to grapple with stagnant or shrinking budgets, those same forces are working to bring down the cost of turbines that will in turn drop the overall expense of developing wind farms.

In some cases the benefits of this development have already been experienced. “Market conditions for the procurement of wind turbine equipment have changed considerably,” said We Energies, a Milwaukee energy firm currently developing Glacier Hills Wind Park, a large wind energy project located northeast of Madison, Wisconsin. Originally budgeted at $525.6 million, the Glacier Hills project is now projected to cost $413.5 million, a welcomed decrease of over $110 million derived in part from lower turbine prices.

The effects of the price drop may be attributed to burgeoning renewable energy industries abroad. Acciona Energia, a Spanish-based renewable energy company, estimates that the price of turbines will continue to drop by about 20 percent over the next three years. Manufacturing lagged behind the huge demand for turbines in the past few years as US wind development increased exponentially. Now, as tighter credit markets have limited the demand for turbines, production has finally caught up, with new plants in China, Korea, and the USA. These changes in supply and demand have driven down the cost of turbines and thus the overall cost of wind development.

This is undoubtedly good news for landowners, utilities and wind development companies invested in the future of wind energy and will increase the feasibility of achieving near-term renewable energy standards. Combining this with the financial aid from the stimulus package and the renewed Production Tax Credit (PTC) is expected to mean increased business for wind energy projects and further job creation as soon as early 2010. With the recession still looming over most other industries, this is welcome news indeed.

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