Despite falling oil prices, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy is still highly competitive with fossil fuels. But solar power isn’t where the savings are at, believe it or not. The report shows that high scale offshore wind power, biomass, hydropower and geothermal rate very high in terms of affordability.
Solar power continues to become more affordable and it is significantly cheaper than it was a decade ago. A report by IRENA last year shows that solar power has dropped about 80 percent in cost since 2008. Concentrated solar power (CSP) is more costly right now, but it’s also new technology compared to photovoltaic cells and should decrease in price as it is implemented more.
Meanwhile, renewable energies such as hydropower and geothermal have “gotten a head start” according to CleanTechnica, as they have been in place for many years – the Hoover Dam is a great example of this.
According to the report: “Onshore wind is now one of the most competitive sources of electricity available. Technology improvements, occurring at the same time as installed costs have continued to decline, mean that the LCOE [levelized cost of energy] of onshore wind is now within the same cost range, or even lower, than for fossil fuels. The best wind projects around the world are consistently delivering electricity for USD 0.05/kWh [5 cents per kilowatt hour] without financial support.”
So even if oil prices continue to fall, IRENA predicts that the cost for onshore wind power will continue to drop, making it a competitive alternative to oil. With oil companies cutting jobs and operations which – according to CleanTechnica – indicates a price hike in the future, renewables will be a low-priced alternative for as long as the wind blows.