Renewable Energy to be Cheaper than Fossil Fuel by 2020

Clean energy costs continue to fall

Clean energy costs continue to fall

Already a year ago, the average costs of new onshore wind farms and solar power projects fluctuated between $60 and $100 per MWh, with several records below that average. The report highlights that onshore wind is now routinely commissioned for Dollars 4 cents per kWh.

It expects renewables will cost between three and 10 USA cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2020, while the current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from five to 17 United States cents per kWh. The best onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects could be delivering electricity for an equivalent of $3 cents per kWh, or less within the next two years. IRENA said auction results suggest that two other technologies - concentrating solar power (CSP) and offshore wind - will provide electricity for between six-10 United States cents per kWh by 2020.

The director-general said Irena's annual renewable energy job reviews for 2017 shows the renewable energy sector supported 9.8 million jobs globally. "These cost declines across technologies are unprecedented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system". Released on the first day of IRENA's Eighth Assembly in Abu Dhabi, "Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017" highlights that other forms of renewable power generation, such as bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower projects in the last 12 months have competed head-to-head on costs, with power from fossil fuels.

New onshore wind and solar energy projects are set to deliver electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels plants, with other green technologies also rapidly gaining a cost advantage over dirty fuels, a report published yesterday said.

Continued technological advancements are not the only factor helping drive down prices.

"One only has to look at the auction outcomes in 2017 in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and India with tariff outcomes down 50 % in just the last two years to make renewables the low-priced source of new supply. The technology and finance-driven global electricity market transformation are accelerating and unstoppable". "For investors and business, this is the opportunity for a generation". Electric vehicle battery costs have fallen 73 per cent between 2010 and 2016, and the Irena estimates the overall storage costs could fall by over 60 per cent by 2030 for different technologies. The report also highlights that auction results are signaling that offshore wind and concentrating solar power projects commissioned in the period between 2020-22 will cost in the range of United States dollars 6-10 cents per kWh, supporting accelerated deployment globally.

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