Onshore wind generation costs on par with other power sources now, says IRENA

EBR Staff Writer Published 16 January 2018

A new report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that onshore wind power generation has now become as affordable as any other source.

The UAE-based intergovernmental organization in its new report dubbed ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017’ estimated that all renewable technologies are going to be competitive by 2020 by generating power in the $0.03-0.10/kWh range.

IRENA said that onshore wind generation cost has come down by about 25% since 2010. It said that onshore wind is now commissioned for $0.04/kWh on a routine basis. On the other hand, the current cost for generating power using fossil fuels is at $0.05-0.17/kWh.

As per IRENA’s new cost analysis, the costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity have declined by 73% to $0.04/kWh since 2010.

By 2020, IRENA expects solar PV costs to be halved from the current levels.

IRENA’s report said that other types of renewable power generation like bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower projects have been on par with power from fossil fuels in terms of costs in the last 12 months.

The intergovernmental body attributes the cost reductions to competitive procurement practices, arrival of a large number of experienced medium-to-large project developers competing for international projects and also continued technology advancements.

IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin said: “Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one.

“Governments around the world are recognizing this potential and forging ahead with low-carbon economic agendas underpinned by renewables-based energy systems.

“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 also outlined that auction results are indicating that offshore wind and concentrating solar power projects to be brought into service between 2020 and 2022 will cost $0.006-0.010/kWh, thereby supporting their accelerated deployment across the world.

Image: IRENA says that onshore wind generation has now become as affordable as any other source. Photo: courtesy of IRENA – International Renewable Energy Agency.

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