EUF > Policy Analysis > Wind Generation in California Power Market

Wind Generation in the Future Competitive California Power Market

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to develop improved methods for assessing the viability of wind generation in competitive electricity markets. In our most recent publication, we assess the potential profitability of 36 promising wind sites in California. Our assessment relies primarily on two tools: (1) a geographic information system (GIS) to estimate the cost of wind farm development; and (2) Elfin, an electricity production cost model, to estimate the possible revenues and profits of wind farms at the selected sites. Calculations based on GIS and Elfin represent an improvement over simple profitability calculations because they include a site-specific development cost calculation and also account for the effect of time-varying market prices on revenues.

The results of this study indicate that, out of the 10 gigawatts (GW) of potential capacity at 36 sites, about 7.4 GW can be profitably developed and 62 TWh of electricity produced per year by 2030. This development occurs under base assumptions favorable to renewable development, including prohibition of new nuclear and coal capacity, a moderate increase in gas prices, and some decline in renewable capital costs.

Project Staff

Osman Sezgen
Chris Marnay
Sarah Bretz

Key Data


Sezgen, Osman, Chris Marnay, and Sarah Bretz. 1998. "Wind Generation in the Future Competitive California Power Market." Report No. LBNL-41134. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. March. Download

Sezgen, Osman, Chris Marnay, Sarah Bretz, R. Markel, and Ryan Wiser. "Opportunities for Wind Resources in the Future Competitive California Power Market." In the Proceedings of Solar 98: Renewable Energy in the Americas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 1998. (Also published in the Proceedings of the 21st Annual International Conference of the International Association of Energy Economics, Quebec, Canada, May 1998.)

Other Resources

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network (EREN): This part of DOE promotes the development and adoption of efficiency and renewable energy technologies. It also works with EPA to design voluntary programs to promote energy efficiency and reduce pollution.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Wind Technology Center

California Energy Commission, website on "Wind Energy in CA"