In the electrical sector, the notion that going green and clean costs more money has long since passed. According to a recent analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the majority of the renewable energy installed in G20 nations last year cost less than the cheapest coal power available anywhere in the globe.
Despite supply chain issues and economic inflation, the cost of renewable energy significantly decreased. Compared to the previous year, the costs of utility-scale solar PV, offshore wind energy, and onshore wind energy all decreased by 13%, 13%, and 15%, respectively (2020).
Onshore wind energy costs decreased to 3.3/kWh, utility-scale solar PV costs (LCOE) averaged 4.8/kWh, and offshore wind energy costs decreased to 7.5/kWh. (The price of concentrated solar thermal energy increased 7% to 11.4/kWh.)
According to IRENA, nearly two-thirds, or 163 GW, of newly installed renewable power in 2021 had lower costs than the G20’s cheapest coal-fired choices, demonstrating the vital role that cost-competitive renewables play in solving the energy and climate issues of the day.
In 2021, the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired power generating option had a global weighted average LCOE that was 11% cheaper than utility-scale solar PV and hydropower, and 39% lower than onshore wind.
The cost of geothermal energy and bioenergy continued to be slightly more on average than the least expensive fossil fuel power and, consequently, higher than the cost of wind and solar electricity.
Longer term, the cost reductions are, of course, far greater. Utility-scale solar PV costs fell by 88 percent between 2010 and 2021, while onshore wind prices fell by 68 percent, CSP costs fell by 68 percent, and offshore wind costs fell by 60 percent.
According to IRENA, households worldwide might save $55 billion in 2022 thanks to electricity savings from renewable energy sources.
Enjoy this clever graph for more entertaining data and information about the history of renewable energy:
According to IRENA, the marginal generating costs of fossil fuels in 2022 will be at least four to six times higher than the lifetime costs per kWh of new solar and wind power deployed in Europe in 2021.
Despite all of this positive news, prices have increased significantly over the previous year globally, and IRENA cautions that prices may continue to climb gradually in 2022. Of course, the rising prices do not exempt fossil fuel power plants. Either the vast economic benefits of new renewable capacity as a whole outweigh any possible scenario for cost rises in renewable energy, or the extraordinarily high prices of fossil fuels make this unlikely. In reality, the price of fossil fuels has increased to the point where renewable energy is even more sensible for new power capacity than usual. 2022 is the ideal year to significantly enhance the deployment of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources will lower the costs of ordinary electrical systems and fossil fuel imports, as well as diminish the negative effects of high electricity prices on consumers and business. The crisis in the price of fossil fuels this year calls for a solution, and renewable energy and energy efficiency offer it, providing previously unheard-of advantages to consumers, the environment, and the world economy.
The 204-page IRENA report has a great deal of statistics and information.
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