Latest results of the international discussion on the social costs of energy - how does wind compare today?
[en] A first analysis of the social costs of competing technologies for electric power generation published in 1988 has induced a rather controversial scientific discussion about the magnitude of and the possible ways to incorporate cost elements not included in energy prices into decisions on energy systems. Different research projects following up a number of controversial or unanswered questions in the field of social costs have been started in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), in Europe and overseas. A first ''counter-study'' has been published in the FRG in 1989. The paper summarizes the latest results of international scientific discussion and research and sketches possible future trends in this field and the practical and political implementation of its results. A first estimate of the consideration of global warming effects due to conventional electricity generation is included in addition to recalculated results on topics addressed by the author in 1988. It concludes that the figures calculated in 1988 have been underestimating the magnitude of the costs not included in the energy prices and that new calculations including further results on CO2 lead to significantly higher figures. The difference of the costs not included in the price of conventional electricity and wind energy rises from 8.4 to 14 Pf/kWh on average with an estimated range of 4.7 to 25.4 Pf/kWh (1 DM = 100 pf = 0.5 ECU). Considering the full costs of electricity generation it can be concluded that wind energy is one of the most economical ways to produce electricity today. Political considerations on how to take social costs of electricity generation into account have reached some definite conclusions in some states of the USA. The paper gives a short sketch of these activities. (Author)