Expert Elicitation Survey Predicts 37% to 49% Declines in Wind Energy Costs by 2050

Philipp Beiter, Ryan Wiser, Joseph Rand, Joachim Seel, Erin Baker, Eric Lantz, Patrick Gilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Scopus Citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)555-565
Number of pages11
JournalNature Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-78630


  • cost projections
  • costs
  • expert elicitation
  • LCOE
  • offshore wind
  • onshore wind
  • survey


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