Replacing the 500 GW of the least competitive coal-fired power plants in the world with photovoltaic and onshore wind power plants will save $ 23 billion per year and reduce CO 2 emissions by 1.8 gigatonnes according to IRENA.
The cost of renewable energy continues to fall. In 2019, the cost of solar energy decreased by 13% compared to the previous year, reaching $ 0.068 / kWh. Wind energy cost 9% less in one year, going down to $ 0.053 / kWh for onshore power plants and $ 0.115 / kWh for offshore power plants. Concentrated solar energy experienced a 1% drop in its cost, which stood at $ 0.182 / kWh in 2019.
This decline is only the result of a movement started for several years and which should continue according to experts. In fact, between 2010 and 2019 the cost of photovoltaic solar energy decreased by 82%, mainly due to solar panels, the price of which fell by 90%. Concentrated solar energy saw its cost drop by 45% over the same period. Onshore and offshore wind technologies have seen their costs drop by 40% and 29% respectively over the past decade.
This reduction in costs has increased the competitiveness of this type of power plants compared to fossil fuels. Thus, the prices of solar electricity, agreed in the most recent electricity contracts, were more than 20% lower than those of coal-fired power stations (the cheapest fossil fuel) built over the same period.
Dismantling the less competitive 500 GW of coal-fired power plants and replacing them with photovoltaic and wind power plants would save $ 12-23 billion. “The replacement of these 500 GW of coal-fired power plants would represent a stimulus of USD 940 billion, not counting the deployment of solar photovoltaic and onshore wind energy last year, or 1.1% of world GDP. », Can be read in the report on the cost of production of renewable energies in 2019, published by IRENA. The operation will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 gigatonnes per year, or 5% of total emissions in 2019.
In addition, 1,200 GW of existing coal-fired power plants will be more expensive to operate over the next year than the installation of new solar power plants.
“We have reached a decisive turning point in the energy transition. The installation of new coal-fired power plants and the operation of most of the old ones are now unjustifiable from an economic and environmental point of view, ” said Francesco La Camera (photo), the director general of Irena.
Source: Agence Ecofin