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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Energy; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump used a speech at a Shell petrochemicals plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to revive his attacks against wind energy, but his speech came just days after Department of Energy's latest major analysis of wind technology trends.

Why it matters: The timing of the president's speech clashed with the report, which underscored why wind has become an increasingly competitive resource.

  • The president inaccurately bashed "windmills that destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds."
  • He also claimed that wind's intermittency is causing power outages, which fails to consider that wind is part of a wider resource mix.

What they found: Here are a few big-picture highlights from the granular report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analysts...

  • New wind power capacity additions were "robust" last year, totaling nearly 7,600 megawatts.
  • Investment in new plants was $11 billion, and there's more bang for the buck. The average per-kilowatt installed cost of wind projects is 40% lower than 2009–2010.
  • Wind power prices are lower than ever. Power purchase deals they analyzed show an average cost below 2¢/kWh, which is less than a third of 2009 prices.
  • Wind now provides 6.5% of U.S. power, and it's over 30% in Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma.
  • The chart above shows how the industry has moved to bigger and more powerful designs. The average capacity for newly installed turbines is 239% higher than it was 20 years ago.

Yes, but: That doesn't mean wind isn't facing hurdles. Per DOE, the looming phaseout of federal tax credits for new projects is expected to slow the rate of project growth starting in 2021. Other challenges, per the report...

"Expectations for continued low natural gas prices and modest electricity demand growth also put a damper on growth expectations, as do limited transmission infrastructure and competition from natural gas and — increasingly — solar energy."

Go deeper: How renewable energy can boost Rust Belt health outcomes

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

2 hours ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."

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