IRENA: Renewables cheapest energy option


Renewable energy has become the most cost-effective way to generate electric power for hundreds of millions of people globally who are not on the grid, according to IRENA research. Renewable energy has also become the least-cost option for extending grid supply in areas with suitable resources, such as sun and wind, IRENA contends.

"A renewable revolution is underway. Recent years have seen consistent, sometimes dramatic, falls in the cost of electricity from renewables -- making it the cheapest option off-grid, and even on-grid in places with plentiful resources," said Dolf Gielen, IRENA's innovation director. "The message is clear: renewable energy today is often the cheapest option to meet rising demand for electricity --even without subsidies. It is also healthier, and better for the environment. A renewable energy future is now bankable, and there are further cost reductions to come."

The findings on the declining costs of renewables should be a wake-up call to policymakers, he adds.

The IRENA research also reveals:

  • Biomass power generation has become competitive wherever low-cost agricultural or forestry waste is available, with the most competitive projects producing electricity for as little as 0.06/kWh.
  • Concentrating solar power has seen costs drop to as little as 0.14/kWh.
  • Hydropower, the world's largest source of renewable energy, today often provides the lowest cost electricity of any generation source.
  • Solar photovoltaic, which has seen rapid development over the past two years, is set to achieve grid parity with residential electricity tariffs in many locations around the world. PV costs typically range from 0.16 to 0.36/kWh.
  • The most competitive onshore wind power sites can deliver electricity costs at as little as 0.04/kWh.

For more:
- see the report

Related Articles:
IRENA touts "Renewable Revolution"
World's sustainable future is uncertain