Forecasting Wind Energy Costs and Cost Drivers: The Views of the World's Leading Experts

Eric Lantz, Aaron Smith, Ryan Wiser, Karen Jenni, Joachim Seel, Erin Baker

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Wind energy supply has grown rapidly over the last decade. However, the long-term contribution of wind to future supply, and the degree to which policy support is necessary to motivate higher levels of deployment, depends - in part - on the future costs of both onshore and offshore wind. We summarize the results of an expert elicitation survey of 163 of the world's foremost wind experts, aimed at better understanding future costs and technology advancement possibilities. Results show significant opportunities for cost reductions, but also underlying uncertainties. Under the median scenario, experts anticipate 24%-30% reductions by 2030 and 35%-41% reductions by 2050 across the three wind applications studied. Costs could be even lower: experts predict a 10% chance that reductions will be more than 40% by 2030 and more than 50% by 2050. Insights gained complement other tools for evaluating cost-reduction potential, and help inform policy and planning, R&D, and industry strategy.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages87
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-66658

Other Report Number

  • LBNL-10005717


  • capacity factor
  • capital cost
  • cost reduction
  • costs
  • future cost
  • land-based wind
  • offshore wind
  • wind energy
  • wind power


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