FACT: Onshore wind energy does not cost consumers more

Since a wind turbine's "fuel" (wind) is free and will never change in price, wind energy helps protect consumers from the price spikes that often affect conventional fuels. According to the testimony of the Public Service Company of Colorado, utilities like wind because it “acts as a hedge against future volatility of natural gas prices.” It also offers utilities an opportunity to lock in a price for up to 25 years via a long-term contract, usually referred to as a “Power Purchase Agreement”. Just as a fixed-rate home mortgage locks in home payments, this kind of contract prevents power generation costs from increasing unpredictably over time.

Utilities are also increasingly interested in adding wind to their generation portfolios, because the cost of wind energy has become much more competitive, costing between $0.06-$0.09/ kWh wholesale on average, even without government incentives. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail cost of residential electricity in the U.S. in 2012 was $0.12/ kWh.

Finally, it is important to note that building new wind energy facilities costs the same or less than building other new generation sources and, because wind energy is pollution-free, it has no hidden environmental or health costs. Furthermore, it is getting cheaper to maintain and operate wind farms, a fact which will continue to bring down energy costs; operation and maintenance costs for onshore wind have declined by 38% since 2008 - 11% in the last year alone. That means the price at which we can sell the power to a utility is getting lower and lower.

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What others are saying

“As the 19th district representative of the House of Delegates, I'm excited to see Virginia's first wind energy project enter its final phase of compliance. The community is excited to see the alternative form of energy come to completion. We look forward to the construction beginning and the successful completion of Virginia's first wind farm.”- Delegate Terry Austin, Virginia House of Delegates, 19th District

"Rocky Forge will be a large contributor to Botetourt County’s tax base, while having a minimal effect on existing land use of the thousands of acres of rural land in the project area. This seems like a win-win to me.”-Jack Leffel, Chairman, Botetourt County Board of Supervisors

“Botetourt County studied and reviewed Rocky Forge Wind for over a year. It was ultimately approved unanimously by our Board of Supervisors both because it met our county’s wind energy guidelines and because it aligns with Botetourt County’s mission of embracing responsible growth and innovation.”- Gary Larrowe, County Administrator, Botetourt County

“The Chamber of Commerce is delighted at the prospect of having Apex join the Botetourt family of businesses. A new renewable energy business in Botetourt will be good for the local economy and the environment and the Chamber is looking forward to working with Apex in the future.”-Pete Pearl, President, Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce

“Virginians overwhelmingly want more renewable energy, and wind power offers one of the cleanest, safest forms of electricity generation. Rocky Forge Wind is a great step toward growing the Commonwealth’s clean energy."-Dan Crawford, Group Chair, Roanoke Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club

“As a resident of Botetourt County for more than 25 years and supporter of our area’s sporting traditions, I believe wind energy is a great way to produce power while protecting traditional land uses like hunting and fishing.”-Sherry Crumley, Board Member, National Wildlife Turkey Federation

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