Energy firms could dump coal as cost of solar falls
Energy firms could dump coal projects as the costs of solar power fall and clean energy generates cheaper energy than fossil fuels.
According to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, half of the world’s coal plants could be undercut by the falling cost of large-scale solar projects.
The price of building a solar project is now 80% cheaper than in 2010 and the report found that up to 1,200 gigawatts of the world’s existing coal capacity could cost more to run than the cost of new utility-scale solar plants.
According to the report, if firms replaced only their most expensive coal plants with new solar power projects or onshore wind farms, they could save up to $23bn (£18bn) every year and cut down on 5% of 2019’s global emissions.
This global renewable energy boom would also stimulate $940bn in investment, or the equivalent of 1% of global GDP.
Francesco La Camera, the director-general of Irena, said that now renewable energy is “increasingly the cheapest source of new electricity”, it offers the potential to stimulate the economy and it’s positive for the environment.
“Renewable investments are stable, cost-effective and attractive, offering consistent and predictable returns while delivering benefits to the wider economy. A global recovery strategy must be a green strategy,” La Camera said.
“Renewables offer a way to align short-term policy action with medium- and long-term energy and climate goals. Renewables must be the backbone of national efforts to restart economies in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. With the right policies in place, falling renewable power costs can shift markets and contribute greatly towards a green recovery."