All renewable energy types to be cost-competitive by 2020: report


Wind farm outside Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada   [photographer: Joel Bennett]

Wind farm outside Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada [photographer: Joel Bennett]

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Renewable-energy generation costs are falling like photons onto a solar panel.

By 2020, it's expected all types of renewable-energy generation will be able to compete with fossil fuels on cost.

That's right: saving our environment will actually save electric utilities some money, too.

DON'T MISS: Two-thirds of world's new energy capacity in 2016 was renewable: IEA

The cost of generating electricity with onshore wind has fallen by about 25 percent since 2010, according to a new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena)

During that same period, solar power generation costs have dropped by an astounding 73 percent and are expected to halve again by 2020, according to the projections.

Generating wind and solar power currently costs on average $0.06 and $0.10 per kilowatt-hour respectively, the report says, but both should drop to $0.03 in the next two years.

Tesla Kauai solar-energy generation and storage project [photo: The Verge]

Tesla Kauai solar-energy generation and storage project [photo: The Verge]

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Aside from wind and solar, other renewable power generation is also giving fossil-fuel electricity generation a run for its money—literally.

"Other forms of renewable power generation, such as bioenergy, geothermal, and hydropower projects in the last 12 months have competed head-to-head on costs with power from fossil fuels," Irena said.

The latest news could be a blow to more traditional forms of fossil-fuel electricity generation, specifically coal, which has seen a minor resurgence thanks to the Trump administration.

READ MORE: Can we have fully carbon-free electricity by 2100? Predictions vary

However, when it comes to future generation projects, renewables are likely to be at the top of the list.

"Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now—overwhelmingly—a smart economic one,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Irena's director general.

"Governments around the world are recognizing this potential and forging ahead with low-carbon economic agendas underpinned by renewables-based energy systems."

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