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Published on May 13th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Wind Cheapest Form of Energy in Kenya and Nicaragua

May 13th, 2012 by  

A recent study by scientists at the ETH Zurich’s Department of Management, Technology and Economics (D-MTEC) looked into the cost of generating 1/10 of the electricity needed for 6 countries (Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Thailand) using wind power, utility-scale solar PV, or conventional options. (The research team didn’t include decentralized, off-grid wind turbines and photovoltaic power in this study but will do so in a future study.)

The study found that, in all 6 countries, wind power was cheaper than solar (though, I think it’s clear that they complement each other). Furthermore, in Kenya and Nicaragua, they found that wind was cheaper than the conventional electricity mix in those countries. (And note that this is without even taking important, costly fossil fuel externalities into account.)

However, some government policies make wind’s cheap price less than obvious: “natural gas and crude oil are subsidised in many countries,” Fabio Bergamin writes on ETH Life. “Egypt, for instance, supplies its own natural gas to the electricity companies at about half the global market price. Also in other countries, there are hidden subsidies. Kenya, for example, maintains the electricity price at a low level and covers the deficits in the production of power caused by the rising oil prices with tax money.”

For more info, check out the ETH Life article or the actual journal article in Nature.

Image: Kenya wind turbine via Whirling Phoenix

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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