Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020

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(International Renewable Energy Agency, June 2021, 180p)

During the decade of 2010 to 2020, the renewables power generation has been becoming increasingly competitive.

Biggest cost reduction by energy source:

  • Solar photovoltaics fell by 85%
  • Concentrating solar power by 68%
  • Onshore wind by 56%
  • Offshore wind 48%

Additionally, the report offers costs and capacity analysis for hydropower, geothermal, bioenergy, and solar thermal.

As mentioned in the report, “the trend is not only one of the renewables competing with fossil fuels but significantly undercutting them when new electricity generation capacity is required.”

Main driving factors are:

  • Improving technologies
  • Economies of scal
  • Competitive supply chains
  • Improving developer experience

These advances provide a plausible and affordable pathway to a decarbonized economy. Low-cost renewables can form the backbone of a decarbonized electricity system and support “a radically different” future of renewable hydrogen and modern biomass.

Furthermore, the report analyses cost components with a study spanning around “20 000 renewable power generation projects worldwide.” The research is based on “data from 13 000 auctions and power purchase agreements for renewables.” The two data sources for the cost and performance metrics are the IRENA Renewable Cost Database and the IRENA Auctions and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) databases collected since 2012.

For a quick check, the executive summary and Chapter 01 Latest Cost Trends offer a solid overview.

To read the full report, click here.

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