Onshore wind and solar PV delivered cost of energy drops of a further 8.5% and 12% respectively in 2018, according to latest data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The fall on 2017’s level means onshore wind projects came in at a globally weighted average of $55/MWh and PV $88/MWh, said Irena, which monitors a database of 17,000 projects in 150 countries.

The further cost declines seen in 2018 – from $60/MWh and $100/MWh in 2017 – were referenced for the first time by Irena director general Adnan Amin in a speech to the Irena Assembly in Abu Dhabi, where he added that the Irena data shows renewable technologies are now “routinely commissioned well within the fossil-fuel power generation range of 5-17 US cents per kWh”.

Amin – who will step down after eight years as director general when his current term ends in April – said renewables’ track record of consistent price reduction had gone hand in hand with the growth of green energy around the world.

As renewable auctions start beating the $30/MWh benchmark, Amin said all commercially-available renewable technologies are on course to be “on par with, or cheaper than, fossil fuels competitors” by 2020, against a background of increased electrification of economies and more corporate sourcing of clean power.

A wind auction result announced yesterday by Saudi Arabia saw the winning project bid-in a price equivalent to $21.20/MWh.

However, Amin added that the stark warnings on emissions delivered last year by the UN climate change panel makes a “rapid and well-managed transition” an urgent necessity.

Irena will choose a successor to Amin at this weekend’s Assembly.


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