Science 3 min read

Game Changer: Renewable Power Sources Become Cheapest Global Energy Source

Renewable power sources are already the least-cost option for electricity in many countries, says a new comprehensive cost study from IRENA.

Renewable power sources | Image courtesy of Pixabay

Renewable power sources | Image courtesy of Pixabay

Coal and other fossil fuels have helped the human civilization to make an astronomical rise that, in just about a century, it reshaped the face of Earth and ushered in the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch.

We can’t keep our business as usual forever with an economy highly-reliant on polluting energy sources, primarily since renewable power technologies can provide clean electricity.

What’s more, is that renewable power is also more and more competitive cost-wise.

The economic profitability of renewable energies against fossil fuels continues to increase over the years.

Per a new comprehensive cost study, renewables energy sources already represent the least-cost source of electricity already in many markets around the globe.

Renewable Power at its Cheapest

Across many parts of the world, the rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies is driving costs down, and their business profitability up.

In its latest report, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) discusses the renewable power market in the world from a cost point of view.

According to IRENA’s report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018, renewables are the cheapest source of power in many markets of the world.

Renewable technologies competitiveness is growing, and the decrease in power production costs is projected to continue over the next years.

The power generation costs of all commercially available renewable energy technologies have dropped by an average 11% year-on-year.

Electricity cost drop percentages for each of the renewable power generation technologies were as follow:

  • Concentrated solar power: – 26%
  • Bioenergy: – 14%
  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV): – 13%
  • Onshore wind: – 13%
  • Hydropower: -12%
  • Geothermal: -1%
  • Offshore wind: -1%

Read More: Historic First: Renewables in the U.S Now Bigger Than Coal

IRENA says that within its global database, 77% of onshore wind farms and 83% of the utility-scale solar PV capacities, set to be commissioned in 2020, should provide cheaper power than the cheapest new fossil-fueled options.

Furthermore, the report also finds that:

  • Onshore wind and solar PV power are now, frequently, less expensive than any fossil-fuel option, without financial assistance.
  • New solar and wind installations will increasingly undercut even the operating-only costs of existing coal-fired plants.
  • Low and falling technology costs make renewables the competitive backbone of energy decarbonization – a crucial climate goal.
  • Cost forecasts for solar PV and onshore wind continue to be revised as new data emerges, with renewables consistently beating earlier expectations.

Driving these dropping costs down and down are the maturing technologies that allow the improvement in production processes and reduce operating costs. Continuing cost declines of basically all renewable power technologies provide low-cost decarbonization solutions to the world’s energy and climate problems.

“We must do everything we can to accelerate renewables if we are to meet the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. Today’s report sends a clear signal to the international community: Renewable energy provides countries with a low-cost climate solution that allows for scaling up action,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General, in a statement.

Read More: Report: Global Shift To 100% Renewables Will Be Here By 2050

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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