Renewable energy – even without subsidies – is cheaper than electricity from coal and gas fired power stations in Australia.
According to new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of A$80/MWh (£52.6 per megawatt hour) compared to A$143/MWh (£94) from a new coal-fired plant and A$116/MWh (£76.2) from a new station powered by natural gas whilst including the cost of carbon emissions. Even without a carbon price, wind energy is believed to be 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas.
Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive of BNEF said: “The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date. The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head.”
The research also shows the cost of wind generation has fallen by 10% and the cost of solar by 29% since 2011 compared to the rising costs of energy from new fossil-fuelled plants and new coal. The analysts predicted large-scale solar PV could also be cheaper than coal and gas by 2020 when including carbon prices. Biomass and solar thermal could also be “cost-competitive” by 2030, according to the research.