Report: Wind, solar are cheapest options, NOW

This blog was written by Simon Mahan, former Energy Policy Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | November 29, 2017 | Energy Policy, Solar, Wind

Don’t believe the fake news hype about cheap coal and natural gas! A new report out by energy industry experts, Lazard Associates, shows that wind power and solar power are now the lowest cost energy resources – period.

In its annual Levelized Cost of Energy analysis, Lazard Associates found the cost for power generated from wind energy resources were around $30-$60 per megawatt hour (MWh) range – even without any subsidies! Unsubsidized solar power resources provided power at a cost of $43-$48/MWh range. That’s 3-6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for wind, or 4.3-4.8 cents per kWh for solar. Of course with existing federal tax credits, real wind power prices could be as low as $14/MWh, or 1.4 cents/kWh, and real solar prices may reach as low as $35/MWh, or 3.5 cents/kWh.

Now compare that with the costs of power generate by coal ($60-$143/MWh) and natural gas ($42-$78/MWh) and its clear that renewable energy is the best economic option for our nation’s power providers.

Since 2009, wind power prices have plummeted by 67% and solar power prices have dropped by 86%.

Just recently Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) in Louisiana announced plans to help build the nation’s largest wind farm, a 2,000 megawatt project in Oklahoma that would save its customers approximately a billion dollars. And Cypress Creek Renewables just announced a 2,000 megawatt solar push for South Carolina.

For utilities and corporate purchasers looking to secure long-term, low-cost renewable energy resources, now is clearly a good time to buy. With more large corporations establishing clean energy goals, like Amazon, Google and Facebook, investing in cheap renewable energy is also a win for economic development interests.

Lazard Associates Levelized Cost of Energy 11.0, 2017
Lazard Associates Levelized Cost of Energy 11.0, 2017
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