Yes it is true; wind energy is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation available today. The first commercial-scale wind turbine was installed in the 1980s and the electricity cost was 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. This has now dropped significantly to an average of 5 euro cents per kilowatt-hour. Kudos to the technology innovations, the price per KWh of electricity from wind seems to be continuously falling down, making wind turbine a widely popular technology.

Cost Structure for a Typical Medium Sized Wind Turbine (850 KW – 1500 KW)

Share of total costs Typical share of other costs
Turbine (ex-works) 74-82
Foundation 1-6 20-25
Electric Installation 1-9 10-15
Grid- Connection 2-9 35-45
Consultancy 1-3 5-10
Land 1-3 5-10
Financial costs 1-5 5-10
Road construction 1-5 5-10

Source: Wind Energy- The Facts

The capital costs of wind energy projects are solely dominated by the wind turbine, which accounts about 74-82% share of the total investment as shown in the above table. While the grid and electric installation costs are estimated to be around 9% each.

Foundation work on the site also shares around 6% of the expenditure. Of the other auxiliary cost components; consultancy, land, financial costs, road constructions could represent a substantial proportion of the total costs. However, there is considerable variation in all the cost components depending upon the size of the turbines as well as the country of installation. The cost per KW typically varies from approximately 900 £/KW (Euros) to 1,150 £/KW. With the increasing popularity of wind energy all over the world and continuous improvement of the technology, the price is likely to go down in the near future.

The cost breakdown of wind turbine installation in various countries is provided below: As shown, the highest installation charge was found to be in Canada while Denmark has the lowest, followed by Greece, The Netherlands and USA. For UK, Spain and Norway, they almost have similar cost overview. The following graph gives a comparative financial figures on wind turbine installation for 12 different countries.