Swiftly dropping renewable energy prices present ‘a historic opportunity’: IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency – IRENA – is calling on the governments to start making sensible decision about the future of energy, based on real assessments of technology costs.

IRENA says governments need to understand that renewable energy technologies are now below the costs of fossil fuels in many parts of the world.

A new report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, concludes that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices.

Solar PV module costs haven fallen 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV have fallen by 50 per cent since 2010 – making solar photovoltaic (PV) the leader in cost declines.

“Any remaining perceptions that renewable power generation technologies are expensive or uncompetitive are at best outdated, and at worst a dangerous fallacy,” Adnan Z. Amin, the director-general of IRENA.

“Renewable energy projects across the globe are now matching or outperforming fossil fuels, particularly when accounting for externalities like local pollution, environmental damage and ill health.

“The game has changed; the plummeting price of renewables is creating a historic opportunity to build a clean, sustainable energy system and avert catastrophic climate change in an affordable way.”

New graphs are presenting the clear decline of costs for utility scare and on-rooftop solar technology. They are also showing an expected continued decline in solar costs in coming years.

They were released this weekend by the International Renewable Energy Agency, which held its annual conference in its home base of Abu Dhabi this week.

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Giles Parkinson