Wind and solar power costs plummet
The United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) have released a report that shows the cost of generating wind and solar power has plummeted worldwide.
The ‘levelised cost’ for solar has dropped 17%, onshore wind costs 18% and offshore wind turbine power costs 28%.
This comes after a decrease of 13% between 2015 and 2016 on the average cost of new solar power projects, while on-shore and off-shore wind saw a drop of 11.5% and 10%.
Michael Liebreich, the chairman of the Advisory Board at BNEF, said that despite the drop in price, solar and wind power can be more applicable to a number of countries.
“Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidised wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world – sometimes by a factor of two,” he said.
“It’s a whole new world: even though investment is down, annual installations are still up; instead of having to subsidise renewables, now authorities may have to subsidise natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability.”
Solar power was the leader of net gigawatts installed last year, more than other technologies like trailed wind, coal, gas, large hydroelectric, nuclear and biomass.
On top of this, renewable energy accounted for approximately half of all new power in 2016 – a growth that came at even less of a cost after it was reported to be 23% cheaper than 2015.
For the fifth consecutive year, investments made into renewable energy have doubled compared to investments in fossil fuels. Reports show 11.3% of all power in 2016 was from renewable sources that resulted in the prevention of 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the air.
Although there is a significant growth from 2015 to 2016, Australia is still behind countries like the US and China when it comes to investing time and money into renewable energy.