Wind-energy customers pay less than those buying fossil-fuel power

Customers of Xcel Energy in Colorado who purchase wind power got a pleasant announcement last week: Not only would they not be paying a premium for their clean energy — they would be paying less than customers getting electricity from natural gas and coal-power sources. Xcel subsequently signed up as many new wind-energy customers in one day as they typically do in two months. Wind programs in Oklahoma and Texas are also becoming competitive with gas and coal, and wind turbine manufacturers say they’re sold out until 2008. Many industry observers perceive a fundamental shift, largely driven by the changing economics of fossil-fuel-based power sources. “It’s a pretty momentous occasion for those of us in the renewable energy business,” says clean-energy wonk Dan Lieberman about the Colorado development.