Falling renewable power costs can boost global climate action

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The latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows renewable power is the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world already, reaffirming the role of renewables as low-cost solution to boost global climate action.

With prices set to fall, the cost advantage of renewables will extend further.

“Renewable power is the backbone of any development that aims to be sustainable”, said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “We must do everything we can to accelerate renewables if we are to meet the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement. Today’s report sends a clear signal to the international community: Renewable energy provides countries with a low-cost climate solution that allows for scaling up action.

The costs for renewable energy technologies decreased to a record low last year, where the global weighted-average cost of electricity declined by:

-26% concentrating solar power (CSP)   

-14% bioenergy solar photovoltaics (PV) and by

-13% onshore wind hydropower 

-12% geothermal and,

-1% offshore wind 

The Report finds that cost reductions are set to continue into the next decade, particularly for solar and wind power technologies.

According to IRENA, over 75% of the onshore wind and 80% of the solar PV projects that are due to be commissioned next year will produce power at lower prices than the cheapest new coal, oil or natural gas options. Crucially, they are set to do so without financial assistance.