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Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019

Die aktuellste Studie der IRENA zeigt auf, dass über die Hälfte des aus EE-Anlagen generierten Stroms, zu geringeren Kosten generiert werden kann, als bspw. Strom aus den neuesten Kohlekraftwerken. © IRENA 2020, IRENA (2020), Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.


RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION COSTS 2019 RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION INCREASINGLY OUT-COMPETES FOSSIL FUELS Not only do costs continue to decline for solar and wind power technologies, but new projects are increasingly being commissioned at very low absolute cost levels. In 2019, 56% of all newly commissioned utility-scale renewable power generation capacity provided electricity at a lower cost than the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired option. Nine-tenths of the newly commissioned hydropower capacity in 2019 cost less than the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired option, as did three-quarters of onshore wind capacity and two-fifths of utility-scale solar PV. The latter value is remarkable considering that in 2010, solar PV electricity cost 7.6 times the cheapest fossil fuel-fired option. Overall, these projects will save consumers in non-OECD countries alone, USD 1 billion per year. Solar and wind cost reductions show no sign of abating, either. Data in the IRENA Auction and PPA Database indicate that solar PV projects that have won recent auction and power purchase agreements (PPAs) processes – and that will be commissioned in 2021 – could have an average price of just USD 0.039/kWh. This represents a 42% reduction compared to the global weighted-average LCOE of solar PV in 2019 and is more than one-fifth less than the cheapest fossil-fuel competitor, namely coal-fired plants. The auction and PPA data indicate the price of electricity from onshore wind could fall to USD 0.043/kWh by 2021, down 18% from 2019. Offshore wind and CSP projects, meanwhile, are set for a step change, with their global average auction prices set to fall 29% and 59% from 2019 values, respectively. With its longer lead times, offshore wind will fall to USD 0.082/kWh in 2023, while CSP will fall to USD 0.075/kWh in 2021. Figure ES.2 Global weighted average LCOE and Auction/PPA prices for CSP, onshore and offshore wind, and solar PV, 2010 to 2023 Solar photovoltaic Concentrating solar power Onshore wind Offshore wind 0.4 0.378 0.3 0.346 0.259 2019 USD/kW 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.039 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 0.182 0.075 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 0.086 0.043 0.161 0.082 Fossil fuel cost range 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 Auction database LCOE database Note: For CSP, the dashed blue bar in 2019 shows the weighted average value including projects in Israel. Note: The thick lines are the global weighted average LCOE, or auction values, by year. The grey bands that vary by year are cost/price range for the 5th and 95th percentiles of projects.. For the LCOE data, the real WACC is 7.5% for OECD countries and China, and 10% for the rest of the world. The band that crosses the entire chart represents the fossil fuel-fired power generation cost range. 14

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY With the global weighted-average LCOE of utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind potentially set to fall to USD 0.039/kWh and USD 0.043/kWh in 2021, new renewable power projects are cheaper than the marginal operating costs of an increasing number of existing coal-fired power plants, raising the risk of a growing number of stranded assets. Comparing these electricity costs to analysis by Carbon Tracker (Carbon Tracker, 2018) of the operating costs of over 2 000 GW of coal-fired power plants suggests 1 200 GW of coal-fired power plants may have higher operating costs than the average price of new utility-scale solar PV in 2021, while for the slightly higher average electricity price for onshore wind, it would be 850 GW of coal capacity. Retiring the least competitive 500 GW of existing coal-fired plants and replacing them with solar PV and onshore wind would reduce system generation costs – and potentially also the costs passed on to consumers – by between USD 12 billion and USD 23 billion per year, depending on the evolution of coal prices and coal-fired power capacity factors in 2021. Retiring 500 GW of the least competitive existing coal-fired power plants would reduce coal generation by around 2 170 terawatt hours (TWh), reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.8 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) (5% of global CO 2 emissions in 2019). The 500 GW coal replacement would yield a stimulus worth USD 940 billion over and above the past year’s solar PV and onshore wind deployment, or around 1% of global GDP. 5 Solar and wind power have achieved impressive “learning rates” since 2010. Steadily rising deployment, technological refinements and growing developer and country experience have seen higher capacity factors and lower total installed costs over time. 6 For the period 2010 to 2019, the LCOE learning rate was 36% for solar PV, 23% for CSP and onshore wind, and 10% for offshore wind. Extending the period examined for CSP, onshore wind and utility-scale solar PV out to 2021, by including the global weighted-average electricity prices from the IRENA Auction and PPA Database, sees the learning rate for utility-scale solar PV increase to 40% for the period 2010-2021. Over the same period, the CSP learning rate increases significantly to 38% and that of onshore wind to 29%. These learning rates represent quite remarkable rates of deflation for wind and solar power technologies, unrivalled by anything in our household budgets. The same amount of money invested in renewable power today produces far more new capacity than it would have a decade ago. Renewable power generation capacity commissioned in 2010 – totalling 88 GW for the year worldwide – represented combined investments worth USD 210 billion in 2019 US dollars. Twice as much was commissioned in 2019 for USD 253 billion – only around one-fifth more in terms of investment value. COST TRENDS BY TECHNOLOGY Utility-scale solar PV's global weighted-average LCOE fell by a precipitous 82% between 2010 and 2019, from a value of USD 0.378/kWh in 2010 to USD 0.068/kWh in 2019. This decline in LCOE was driven by the 90% reduction in module prices between 2010 and 2019, which with declining balance-of-system (BoS) costs saw the global weighted-average total installed cost fall by 79% over the same period. The global weighted-average total installed cost of projects commissioned in 2019 fell below the USD 1 000/kW mark for the first time, to just USD 995/kW, 18% lower than in 2018. India leads the world, in having the lowest weighted-average total installed costs of USD 618/kW in 2019. Competitive cost structures are not confined to established markets anymore, however. Market growth in Ukraine and Viet Nam, for example, shows how PV continues to become a cost competitive technology choice in a growing number of settings. The weighted-average total installed cost in Ukraine in 2019 was USD 874/kW, while it was USD 1 054/kW in Viet Nam. Significant country cost differences persist, however, and many markets could create significant cost reduction opportunities by moving to best practice cost structures. 5 The calculation includes USD 0.005/kWh for integrating this additional variable power generation. The GDP stimulus is based on a contraction of global GDP in 2020 limited to 5%. 6 The “learning rate” is the percentage reduction in costs that is achieved for every doubling of cumulative installed capacity. 15

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