Featured Reports on the Benefits of Wind and Solar Energy


WEF Reports


Wind Energy Foundation (2018) Job Creators: Minnesota Companies Mortenson and Ulteig Find New Opportunities in the Renewable Energy Sectors

Wind Energy Foundation (2018) Tale of Two Projects: Ohio’s Wind Setback Law is Blocking Economic Opportunity for Rural Communities

Wind Energy Foundation (2018) Transmission Upgrades and Expansion: Keys to Meeting Large Customer Demand for Renewable Energy

Wind Energy Foundation (2017) The Growing Western EIM: The Economic, Environmental, and Energy Security Benefits of an Expanding Market

Wind Energy Foundation (2017) Blowing in the Wind: Ohio’s Overly Restrictive Wind Setback Law is Putting Billions in New In-State Investment at Risk

Wind Energy Foundation (2017) Renewables Power Economic Growth in Nevada

Wind Energy Foundation (2016) Consumer Benefits of Wind In Iowa


Benefits of Wind and Solar – Fact Sheets


U.S. Department of Energy. Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy.

This document summarizes the pros and cons of wind energy.


Lazard. (November 2017). Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 11.0.

This study shows how wind and solar are now cost competitive with traditional sources of electricity, even without subsidies.


U.S. Department of Energy. (September 2016). Revolution Now 2016.

This report documents the acceleration of deployment of five clean energy technologies in the U.S., including wind and solar energy.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (January 2015). Wind Energy Benefits.

This fact sheet provides an overview of ten key benefits of wind energy, including the economic, environmental, and national security advantages of wind energy.


Benefits of Wind and Solar – Longer Reports


Abel, David; et al. (February 2018). Potential air quality benefits from increased solar photovoltaic electricity generation in the Eastern United States. Atmospheric Environment.

This study shows that there would be massive benefits to air quality and public health from further deployment of solar energy. Increasing solar to 17 percent of generation would reduce power sector NOX and SO2 emissions by 15 to 20 percent. Summer particulate matter would also decrease by 4.7 percent, saving $13.1 billion in reduced mortality rates.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (September 2017). Utility-Scale Solar 2016.

This report analyzes trends in cost, pricing, and performance of utility-scale solar in the US, including utility-scale PV and concentrating solar thermal.


Millstein, Dev; Wiser, Ryan; Bolinger, Mark; & Barbose, Galen. (August 14, 2017). The climate and air-quality benefits of wind and solar power in the United States. Nature Energy.

This article quantifies the air quality and climate benefits of wind and solar energy in the US, showing air quality benefits of $29.7 to $112.8 billion and climate benefits of $5.3 to $106.8 billion in 2015 alone.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (August 2017). Wind Technologies Market Report.

This report documents the wind sector’s rapid growth, reduction in price, and technological advancement.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (December 2016). A Prospective Analysis of the Costs, Benefits, and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards.

This report quantifies the large benefits that states can accrue through the passage of renewable portfolio standards.


U.S. Department of Energy. (April 2015). Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States.

This report quantifies the economic and environmental benefits of a scenario where wind provides 35 percent of US electrical demand by 2050. The report also lays out policy actions that could help achieve this scenario.


Department of Energy. (February 2012). SunShot Vision Study.

This study examines a future in which the cost of solar decreases 75 percent between 2010 and 2020, in line with the DOE SunShot Initiative’s cost targets. The study also examines the pathways and barriers to achieving this target, as well as the implications of a future where solar meets 27 percent of US electricity needs by 2050.


Benefits of Transmission and Storage


Jorgenson, Jennie; Denholm, Paul; & Mai, Trieu. (October 15, 2018). Analyzing storage for wind integration in a transmission-constrained power system. Applied Energy.

This article shows that both transmission and storage reduce renewable energy curtailment but that their benefits are amplified when combined, bringing a benefit larger than the sum of its parts.


Climate Institute. (October 29, 2017). North American Supergrid: Transforming Electricity Transmission.

This report explains how a national super-grid of high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission could transform the electricity sector by massively reducing carbon, lowering prices, and improving reliability.


MISO. (September 2017). MTEP17 MVP Triennial Review: A 2017 review of the public policy, economic, and qualitative benefits of the Multi-Value Project Portfolio.

This report analyzes and quantifies the economic, reliability, and climate benefits that MISO’s MVP transmission lines have brought to the region. The study finds the net economic benefit of the MVP portfolio to be between $12 and $52.6 billion, with a benefit-to-cost ratio between 2.2 and 3.4.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (January 2017). Reducing Wind Curtailment through Transmission Expansion in a Wind Vision Future.

This report explains how transmission expansion is necessary to prevent the curtailment of renewable energy in a high-wind future. The study finds that wind curtailment could be cut in half with just 10.5 gigawatts of new transmission, with greater transmission yielding further benefits.


The Brattle Group. (June 2016). Well-Planned Electric Transmission Saves Customer Costs: Improved Transmission Planning is Key to the Transition to a Carbon-Constrained Future. WIRES.

This white paper shows how robust investment in transmission, including inter-regional transmission, is key to bringing down customers’ overall electricity costs. The report explains how a robust, flexible grid enables policy-makers to choose the most cost-effective resource options and allows for geographic and resource diversification in their generation portfolio.


Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The Benefits of a “Transmission Superhighway”.

This fact sheet summarizes the benefits of an inter-regional transmission system.


Southwest Power Pool (SPP). (January 26, 2016). The Value of Transmission.

This report analyzes the benefits of transmission lines installed by SPP between 2012 and 2014, finding net benefits of at least $16.6 billion, with a benefit-cost ratio of 3.5.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Interconnections Seam Study.

This study quantifies the benefits of inter-regional transmission lines between the Western Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The report shows how connecting the three major components of the US electric grid can drive economic growth and unlock the development of more solar and wind energy.


MacDonald, Alexander E; et al. (January 25, 2016). Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 Emissions. Nature Climate Change.

This article shows that the US power sector could cut emissions by up to 80 percent by 2030 using existing technology alone and without requiring electrical storage or increasing the levelized cost of electricity. According to the study, this scenario could be achieved using only wind, solar, and a national transmission system enabled by high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines.


Reliably Integrating Large Amounts of Wind and Solar Energy


Southwest Power Pool (SPP). (January 5, 2016). 2016 Wind Integration Study.

SPP found that with transmission upgrades, its system could handle scenarios with 60% wind penetration.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). (September 2016). The Future of Electricity Resource Planning.

LBNL found that, at renewable penetration rates that utilities are planning by 2030, integration costs will be negligible to low. This includes states such as California and Hawaii that might see 40 to 50 percent penetration rates.


American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). (May 2017). Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Resilient Electricity Mix.

This report summarizes how renewables can build a more reliable grid, including at high penetrations.


PJM Interconnection. (March 30, 2017). PJM’s Evolving Resource Mix and System Reliability.

PJM finds its grid would remain reliable and resilient even with wind composing more than 75% of annual electricity generation.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (2012). Renewable Electricity Futures Study.

NREL found no reliability problems in a scenario where renewables generate 80 percent of total electricity, with wind and solar making up 50 percent of total generation.


Minnesota Commerce Department. (October 31, 2014). Minnesota Renewable Energy Integration & Transmission Study.

This study shows that Minnesota’s electric grid can reliably accomodate 40 percent wind and solar penetration by 2030, using transmission and demand-side flexibility.


International Energy Agency (IEA). (2014). The Power of Transformation – Wind, Sun and the Economics of Flexible Power Systems.

This study shows that annual penetration rates of up to 45 percent variable renewable energy can be accommodated without significantly increasing power system costs.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (2017). Western Wind and Solar Integration Study.

This report shows that the Western Interconnection can handle 35 percent wind and solar penetration without extensive infrastructure changes.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (August 2016). Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study.

According to this NREL study, the Eastern Interconnection can handle upwards of 30 percent annual wind and solar penetration with current infrastructure.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (July 2017). Integrating High Levels of Variable Renewable Energy into Electric Power Systems.

This study describes the grid improvements necessary to handle very high penetrations of variable renewable energy sources (between 50 and 90 percent).


Report Archive


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