Falling Renewable Energy Costs Send Wake-up Alarm to Policy Makers

Low prices always help fuel increasing economic metrics. Bring renewable energy into the circle.

A press announcement released today from Abu Dhabi concerning a new report issued by the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) states, “Renewable energy has entered into a new virtuous cycle of falling costs, increasing deployment, and accelerated technological progress.”

We’re not so concerned here about “virtue” as we are about economic drivers like pricing.

The announcement continues:

“The cost of solar energy, for example, has dropped below the cost of diesel generation worldwide for communities living away from the electricity grid.”

This is very encouraging news in the year 2013. But IRENA believes the public debate around renewable energy still suffers from outdated perceptions that renewable energy is not competitive. Swaying such opinion is no small hurdle.

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2012: An Overview, launched during the IRENA annual Assembly and at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, is the most current, comprehensive analysis of the costs and performance of renewable power generation today. It is available at the IRENA website.

The IRENA analysis covers 8000 medium- to large-scale renewable power generation projects. It concludes that “…renewables are fast becoming the most competitive option for new electricity grid supply and swift grid extension, and are already the default economic solution for off-grid power supply.”

“The past two years have seen a remarkable increase in the competitiveness of renewable energy,” says Adnan Amin, IRENA Director General. “2012 was the year when renewables came of age – able to compete with other power generation technologies, and increasingly without subsidies. It is time for the public debate to reflect this changing reality.”

As such IRENA is launching the Renewable Costing Alliance, planning to raise worldwide awareness of falling costs, and to collect data, maing it available to government agencies, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, project developers, utilities and research institutions.

For readers, IRENA is mandated by 159 countries and the European Union to promote the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, and to serve as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange. Formally established in 2011, IRENA is the first major international organization to be headquartered in the Middle East.

Source: Business Wire

Photo: Co-generation plant construction from Shutterstock

About the Author

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.