World-wide solar electricity costs have fallen 73% since 2010, onshore wind costs are down about 23%, and all renewables will be cost-competitive with conventional energy options by 2020, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) concludes in a report released at its annual assembly Saturday.
“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “It is now—overwhelmingly—a smart economic one.”
With governments around the world “recognizing this potential and forging ahead with low-carbon economic agendas,” he added, “we expect the transition to gather further momentum, supporting jobs, growth, improved health, national resilience, and climate mitigation around the world in 2018 and beyond.”
The report concludes that by next year, the “best” photovoltaic solar and onshore wind will be delivering power for US 3¢/kWh, “significantly below the current cost of power from fossil fuels,” IRENA notes in a release. Alongside advancing technologies, the release cites “competitive procurement practices, together with the emergence of a large base of experienced medium to large project developers competing for global market opportunities,” as key drivers for continuing cost reductions.
It notes that bioenergy, geothermal, and hydropower projects have also competed successfully against fossil projects based on cost.
“By 2020, project and auction data suggest that all currently commercialized renewable power generation technologies will be competing [with], and even undercutting, fossil fuels,” the release notes. It cites record low solar prices over the last year in Abu Dhabi, Chile, Dubai, Mexico, Peru, and Saudi Arabia, all coming in at 3¢/kWh or lower.