If anyone was in any doubt about the future of renewable energy sources, and their ability to compete with traditional fossil fuels, the latest report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will prove very interesting reading.
The organisation’s latest research found that the cost of generating onshore wind has fallen by around 25 per cent since 2010, while solar PV costs have dropped by around 73 per cent in the same timeframe.
According to IRENA’s forecast, the best solar PV and onshore wind projects will be delivering electricity at the equivalent of three US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), or less, by 2020.
By contrast, current costs for fossil fuel generation come in at between five and 17 US cents per kWh.
Meanwhile, offshore wind and concentrating solar projects that are commissioned between 2020-2022 are expected to generate electricity at a cost of between six and ten cents per kWh, also making these competitive with fossil fuels.
Adnan Z Amin, IRENA Director-General, commented: “Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now - overwhelmingly - a smart economic one.”
If IRENA’s projections are correct, some forms of renewable energy could even be undercutting fossil fuels in terms of their cost by 2020.
With so much potential to deliver cost-effective energy, it’s little wonder that governments are increasingly looking to renewable sources for their future energy generation projects.
In the UK, a new study has been commissioned to find out more about the economic benefits of installing a greater number of floating wind farms. The first such wind farm started operating off the coast of Scotland in October last year, and this technology makes offshore wind a more accessible and attractive prospect.
If you’re working in this field, make sure that all of your staff have received the best GWO working at heights training that’s available.