Research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found that renewable energy will be a cheaper source of power on a consistent basis than fossil fuels. IRENA found that the switch in costs will happen in just a few years and be achieved by 2020.
The non-profit, which has over 150 countries as members, found that the cost of onshore wind electricity generation had dropped by nearly 23pc since 2010. At the same time, the cost of solar PV had dropped by 73pc. Further price drops are expected for these technologies and other sources of green power, and this will mean that all forms of green electricity generation will be competitive with or cheaper than gas and coal by 2020.
On a global basis, onshore wind developments now cost c. $0.06 per KwH, with some of the most competitive developments costing just $0.04 per KwH. The cost of solar PV generation has dropped to just $0.10 per KwH, but fossil fuel generation falls between a band of $0.05 and $0.17KwH.
The statistics are published in the body's latest report, released this month to coincide with the eighth IRENA conference being held in Abu Dhabi. The report's authors found that the costs of solar would plummet further in the coming years and that the costs of the technology are expected to halve by 2020. The result would be solar PV and onshore wind projects delivering green energy on a consistent basis at just $0.03 per kWh in just two years.
The authors concluded that the expected price drops would further challenge the market for fossil fuels and governments that heavily rely on them for substantial amounts of their export income, such as Middle Eastern countries.