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With Rapidly Falling Prices, Renewables Set to Outcompete Fossil Fuels by 2020

"These cost declines across technologies are unprecendented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system."

(Photo: TLPOSCHARSKY/Flickr/cc)

A new report showing that renewable prices may soon out-compete fossil fuels offers just the latest evidence to bolster demands that oil, gas, and coal to be left "in the ground."

"Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now—overwhelmingly—a smart economic one." 
—Adnan Amin, IRENA

The cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for delivering electricity was presented Saturday at the opening of the organization's Eighth Assembly in Abu Dhabi.

Prices are already falling for renewable power generation, the publication notes, and says that wind and solar power will be on par with—or even cheaper than—the cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity by 2020.

Among the "remarkable" price reductions has been for utility-scale solar PV which have dropped 73 percent since 2010, the report says.

By 2019, the study predicts onshore wind and solar PV projects will be able to deliver electricity for $0.03/kWh, and offshore wind will be able to meet the task for $ 0.06 to $0.10/kWh starting in 2020.

Fossil fuel generation, in contrast, was estimated to be between $0.05 and $0.17/kWh in 2017.

"These cost declines across technologies are unprecendented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system," said Adnan Amin, IRENA's director-general. "Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now—overwhelmingly—a smart economic one."

 

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