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Published on December 3rd, 2015 | by Guest Contributor


Wind & Solar Cheaper Than Fossils & Nuclear Now

December 3rd, 2015 by  

Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon

Wind energy and solar energy are notably beating out conventional generation modalities (coal, natural gas, nuclear, etc) with regard to production costs and abatement as well, according to a new study from the US investment bank Lazard.

The report notes that, despite recent drops in the cost of natural gas in the US, solar and wind energy are still beating out conventional modalities in most situations — partly owing to the fact that solar and wind energy costs have dropped by 80% and 60% since 2009. Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) costs have actually even fallen by 25% just over the last year, according to the new study.

Here are a few graphs from the report illustrating important points, via RenewEconomy:

Lazard Solar Wind LCOE 1 Lazard Solar Wind LCOE 2

This first two graphs shows what’s happened to wind and solar energy project costs since 2009 (in the US). It should be noted that these numbers don’t include tax credits.

This next one shows how these modalities compare to the conventional ones. Worth noting is that, compared to earlier Lazard studies, the cost of nuclear has actually climbed. As you can see, rooftop solar is also notably higher in the US than in many other places.

And here’s a show of abatement comparisons:

Lazard Solar Wind LCOE 3

Lazard notes: “(This) analysis … suggests that policies designed to promote wind and utility scale solar deployment could be a particularly cost effective way of limiting carbon emissions.”

The reports provides a caveat on renewables though: “Even though alternative energy is increasingly cost-competitive and storage technology holds great promise (see our study on its first storage costs assessment) alternative energy systems alone will not be capable of meeting the baseload generation needs of a developed economy for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the optimal solution for many regions of the world is to use complementary traditional and alternative energy resources in a diversified generation fleet.”

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