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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Globally, Renewables Were The Cheapest Form of Energy in 2020, a New Report Shows

Renewable technologies such as wind and solar are becoming more affordable, according to a new report. This is driving the rise of renewable energy as the world’s cheapest power source.

In the past decade, the cost of large-scale solar projects has dropped by 85%. The retirement of coal plants would also reduce CO2 emissions by about three gigatonnes per year.

According to a new report, renewables are now significantly undercutting fossil fuels as the world’s cheapest source of power.
In 2020, nearly two-thirds of the wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources are expected to be cheaper than the cheapest new fossil fuel, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The equivalent share for 2019 is double this amount.

It’s Good to Have Cheap Renewables
IRENA’s report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020, shows that costs for renewable technologies are continuing to fall “significantly” year by year.
The Director-General of IRENA Francesco La Camera said, “Today, renewables are the cheapest form of power.”
According to IRENA, cheaper renewables will enable developed and developing countries to phase out coal and meet growing energy demands, save money, and create jobs.
By retiring coal plants, we would also stop the emission of about three gigatonnes of CO2 every year – 20% of what we need to reduce emissions by 2030 to avert climate catastrophe.
Globally, emerging economies will save up to $156 billion from renewable energy projects by 2020 alone, the agency said.

Falling Cost of Renewables
According to the report, the cost of concentrating solar-thermal power technology fell by 16% – systems that reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver.
Onshore wind projects saw their costs decline by 13%, and offshore wind projects by 9%.
Solar photovoltaics (PV) – which converts light into electricity using semiconducting materials – saw project costs fall by 7%. In the decade to 2020, the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV fell by 85%, according to IRENA.
IRENA’s report also discusses hydropower, geothermal, bioenergy, and renewable heat.

Financing the Transition to Renewable Energy
In its World Energy Outlook 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that solar power is now the cheapest electricity in history. The technology is more inexpensive than coal and gas in most major countries, the outlook found.
A second IEA study, Net-Zero by 2050, reports that carbon neutrality could be achieved by 2050 with significant changes. There will be huge cuts in coal, oil, and gas – and substantial investments in renewable energy.
The World Economic Forum and the IEA have collaborated to produce Financing Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging and Developing Economies, a special report on renewable energy investments.
According to the report, emerging and developing economies will need to increase their clean energy investment by more than seven times – from less than $150 billion in 2020 to over $1 trillion by 2030 – to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

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