Written by Ellie Siviter
Apr 26, 2023
Renewable energy has come a long way in the past few decades. From being an expensive and experimental technology, it has now become a viable and cost-effective alternative to traditional energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas. But the question remains: is renewable energy getting cheaper?
The simple answer is yes, renewable energy is getting cheaper, and it is already cheap compared to traditional energy sources in many parts of the world. One of the main reasons for the declining cost of renewable energy is technological advancements. With increased investment and research, renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power have become more efficient and cost-effective. As a result, the cost of solar and wind power has decreased significantly in recent years, making them competitive with traditional energy sources also offering the added benefit of producing zero direct emissions and zero methane emissions according to the IPCC Report 2014. In recent years, the International Renewable Energy Agency stated that renewables were the world’s cheapest energy source (2020). The Agency’s report showed that the cost of renewable technologies is falling exponentially.
Moreover, economies of scale have played a significant role in reducing the cost of renewable energy. As more renewable energy projects are built, the cost per unit decreases, leading to further cost reductions for the consumer. This is particularly true for solar and wind power, where the cost of equipment and installation has decreased significantly. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), which represents the average net present cost of electricity generation for a generator throughout its lifespan, has become increasingly affordable.
Another factor contributing to the declining cost of renewable energy is the increasing demand for clean energy. As countries set ambitious renewable energy targets and investors pour money into renewable energy projects, the demand for renewable energy continues to grow, including the “Net Zero Target” set by the UK government to ensure the UK reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% from 1990 by 2050.
However, it is essential to note that the cost of renewable energy varies from region to region. While solar and wind power are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many parts of the world, there are still regions where renewable energy is not yet cost-competitive. Which is why there is a growing demand for more development of renewable technology.
In conclusion, renewable energy is getting cheaper, and it is already cheap compared to traditional energy sources in many parts of the world. Technological advancements, economies of scale, and increasing demand for clean energy have contributed to the declining cost of renewable energy. As we continue to invest in renewable energy and transition away from fossil fuels, the cost of renewable energy will continue to decrease, making it an even more cost-effective alternative to traditional energy sources.
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