Cost of renewable energy falls dramatically while coal, gas and nuclear increases

03.09.15 By

WIND and solar energy can now compete on price and in some cases are even cheaper than fossil fuel power stations, a new report by the International Energy Agency has revealed.

The Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2015 Edition showed costs have fallen dramatically for renewable energy, especially wind and solar, and are expected to continue to fall further.

In contrast, since the last such report in 2010, the median price for power from non-renewable energy plants such as gas, coal and nuclear has increased.

“While the data shows a large range, the lowest cost renewable energy plants are in line with or cheaper than the lowest cost fossil fuel plants,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.

“The best prices for onshore wind, utility and larger-scale solar PV are at or lower cost than the cheapest coal-fired generators.”

The report is the eighth such report produced by the IEA, with the last report published 5 years ago in 2010, and it uses levelised cost of energy calculations based on real cost data from 181 power plants in 22 countries.

Solar PV in particular had seen a “very significant decline” in costs, the report found.

Ms McKenzie said renewable energy was rapidly becoming the cheapest choice in many parts of the world.

“The costs of renewable energy are projected to continue to fall but unless Australia puts in place supportive policy settings which will allow our research and development to be applicable, Australia will increasingly be a buyer of offshore equipment and technology,” she said.

“Renewable energy is not only reliable, cheap and ready-to-go, it is also crucial to tackling climate change. It’s a no-brainer.

“Joining the worldwide shift to renewables will not only boost Australia’s bottom line, it’s crucial to protecting us from the consequences of large-scale changes to the climate such as sea level rise and more frequent and intense extreme weather.”

The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organisation providing quality information on climate change to the Australian public.

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