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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wind & Solar Costs Down - Coal, Gas & Nuclear UP

Yes, these are good days for renewables.  Prices are coming down, getting competitive with fossil-fuel sources, and mass quantities are being added each year.  Building around this onslaught of clean energy is technology that will allow us to harness the power in the most useful and efficient manner;  that includes battery-storage systems (small and large), better transmission systems and smart/micro grids.

Here's another milestone in closing the gap on pricing and allowing wind and solar to start to surpass coal, gas and nuclear in production.

What is stopping you from making the switch?


Onshore wind energy now fully competitive against gas and coal in some parts of the world, while solar power is closing in says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

BNEF’s Levelised Cost of Electricity Update for the second half of this year states the cost of onshore wind and solar photovoltaics have dropped again this year, while costs have gone up for gas-fired and coal-fired electricity generation.

The global average levelised cost of electricity* (LCOE) for onshore wind dropped to USD$82 per megawatt-hour in the second half of 2015, while for crystalline silicon PV, i.e. solar panels, the cost fell to USD $122.

This has been attributed to not only cheaper technology, but also lower financing costs.

Meanwhile, the LCOE for coal-fired powered generation increased from $66 per MWh in the first half to $75 in H2 in the Americas, from $68 to $73 in Asia-Pacific, and from $82 to $105 in Europe.

The LCOE for combined-cycle gas turbine generation jumped from $76 to $82 in the Americas in the second half, from $85 to $93 in Asia-Pacific and from $103 to $118 in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

Onshore wind is now fully cost-competitive with gas-fired and coal-fired generation in the UK and Germany once carbon costs are factored in.

BNEF says coal and gas have become more expensive due to lower utilisation rates, and in the case of Europe, a higher carbon price assumption.

But what about so-called “cheap” nuclear power? BNEF says nuclear energy in the Americas and Europe rose to $261 per megawatt-hour and in the Middle East and Africa region, $158 per MWh.

The impact of the wind and solar power revolution has taken many by surprise, including Bloomberg New Energy Finance it seems.

.. onshore wind and solar PV are both now much more competitive against the established generation technologies than would have seemed possible only five or 10 years ago,” said Luke Mills, analyst, energy economics at BNEF.

A recently released report from the International Energy Agency says renewables are expected to be the largest source of net additions to power generation capacity globally out to 2020; with wind power the major contributor, followed by solar PV.
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