While renewable energy continues to be more expensive in countries where coal and fossil fuels remain dominant, emerging projects elsewhere have managed to produce renewable electricity at lower costs. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) notes in a year-end assessment that solar power is now around half the price of coal and gas, making it cheaper than wind energy, and ultimately the cheapest form of new electricity.
Solar power has reached record-low costs in the past. The difference is that past instances were achieved in isolated projects, whereas now we’re talking large-scale implementation.
As more and more renewable energy projects reach completion, costs are expected to keep plummeting. In its long-term forecast, BNEF predicts that, while coal and gas costs will stay low, renewables will still do better and will be the cheapest in many countries between now and 2040. Liebrich also says these favorable developments will continue regardless of subsidies: “renewable energy will beat any other technology in most of the world without subsidies.”