Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms

Renewable energy generation costs continue to fall International Renewable Energy Agency report

Report also highlights that solar costs are set to fall further with another halving expected by 2020

Global weighted average costs over the last 12 months for onshore wind and solar PV now stand at United States dollars 6 cents and USD 10 cents per kWh respectively, with recent auction results suggesting future projects will significantly undercut these averages. The current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from Dollars 5-17 cents per kWh. The best onshore wind and solar PV projects could be delivering electricity for an equivalent of United States dollars 3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), or less within the next two years.

Quoting from a report on renewable power generation costs, Amin said the cost of utility-scale solar PV electricity has fallen by 73 per cent since 2010, and record low prices in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have made United States dollars 3 cents/kWh the new benchmark.

The director-general said Irena's annual renewable energy job reviews for 2017 shows the renewable energy sector supported 9.8 million jobs globally.

As the transformation of the current energy system into renewables is gaining pace, Amin said falling costs and rapid innovation have spurred investments, transforming renewable energy from niche to an economically and technically preferred solution.

Competitive procurement practices together with the emergence of a large base of experienced medium-to-large project developers competing for global market opportunities are cited as new drivers of recent cost reductions, in addition to continued technology advancements. 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.

"At ADFD, we believe that through the large-scale promotion of renewable energy projects in countries with enormous clean energy potential, we can contribute to long-term economic prosperity across the word". The study found that new bioenergy and geothermal projects commissioned in 2017 had global weighted average costs of around seven USA cents per kWh. 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. Projects are now routinely commissioned at United States dollars 4 cents/kWh and the global weighted average is around USD 6 cents/kWh. The Assembly will be held over two days till January 14 and is being attended by more than 1,000 government representatives from 150 countries. As the world's principal platform for worldwide cooperation on renewable energy, the Assembly provides strategic guidance to the work of the Agency for the next four years and positions it to play a key role in driving the global energy transformation. Video and audio statements from IRENA's Director General are available for your immediate use, and can be downloaded here.

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