June 23, 2021 Read More →

Report finds most new wind, solar to provide cheaper power than coal

The Guardian

Almost two-thirds of wind and solar projects built globally last year will be able to generate cheaper electricity than even the world’s cheapest new coal plants, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The agency found that the falling cost of new windfarms and solar panels meant 62% of new renewable energy projects could undercut the cost of up to 800 gigawatts (GW) worth of coal plants, or almost enough to supply the UK’s electricity needs 10 times over.

Solar power costs fell by 16% last year, according to the report, while the cost of onshore wind dropped 13% and offshore wind by 9%.

In less than a decade the cost of large-scale solar power has fallen by more than 85% while onshore wind has fallen almost 56% and offshore wind has declined by almost 48%. Francesco La Camera, Irena’s director general, said the agency’s latest research proved the world was “far beyond the tipping point of coal”.

He said: “Today renewables are the cheapest source of power. Renewables present countries tied to coal with an economically attractive phase-out agenda that ensures they meet growing energy demand, while saving costs, adding jobs, boosting growth and meeting climate ambition.”

In Europe, the cost of a new coal plant would be well above the cost of new wind and solar farms including mandatory carbon prices. The report found that in the US renewable energy could undercut between three-quarters and 91% of existing coal-fired power plants, while in India renewable energy would be cheaper than between 87% and 91% of new coal plants.

[Jillian Ambrose]

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