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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 For utility-scale solar PV, the IRENA Auction and PPA Database suggests that the global weightedaverage price for solar PV will fall to USD 0.045/kWh in 2020 and USD 0.039/kWh in 2021, which is a 42% reduction in electricity cost implied in 2021 compared to the 2019 global weighted-average LCOE. This is for a total of 37 GW of capacity in the database expected to be commissioned in 2020, while 18 GW has currently been procured that is expected to be online in 2021. Of the projects in the Auction and PPA database that are expected to be commissioned in 2021, four-fifths will have an award price that is lower than the cheapest fossil fuel-fired power generation option. Indeed, with the right regulatory and institutional frameworks in place, well-designed contract terms and appropriate risk sharing, the recent record low auction prices for solar PV in Dubai, Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have shown that an LCOE of USD 0.03/kWh is possible in a wide variety of national contexts. Expectations are that values as low as USD 0.02/kWh are potentially feasible in the coming years. Such very low values are possible when all the factors driving the cost of electricity reach their lowest or best values. These factors include installed and O&M costs being low, the solar resource being excellent and low financing costs. What is remarkable for solar PV is that very competitive total installed costs for this technology are now possible around the world, even in markets with little previous deployment experience with solar PV. This is because international project developers are now bringing their experience in project development to new markets, partnering with local stakeholders to take advantage of low – and falling – equipment costs, while also tapping into international finance markets to secure low-cost financing for their solar PV projects. They are thus able to deliver very low-cost electricity to consumers. The low-cost of finance has, indeed, been an important driver of the very low-cost solar PV seen in recent years. It is also likely to be one of the reasons why the Auction and PPA data started to diverge from the global weighted-average value in the LCOE database after 2015. 10 There is also the possibility that that there is a growing divergence in the O&M and economic lifetime assumptions in the LCOE calculations from what is becoming the norm in the PV market. However, the most significant area where assumptions could be diverging sufficiently to induce the current gap is in the weighted average cost of capital (WACC). There is significant anecdotal evidence that WACC expectations have fallen significantly for solar PV in recent years, as the extremely low-risk nature of developing solar PV projects is increasingly being correctly priced into cost-of-capital rates for both debt and equity. This issue will be examined in more detail later in this chapter. For CSP and offshore wind, deployment is thinner and the annual global weighted-average more volatile in both the LCOE and Auction and PPA databases. The global market for CSP revived somewhat in 2018 and 2019, as a variety of projects around the world have come online, from Morocco to South Africa and China. Yet, new capacity additions remain relatively low, at between 500 MW and 650 MW per year. The Chinese market shows potential to scale, but very aggressive timelines for the first batch of pilot projects have proved challenging and, in hindsight, perhaps overly ambitious. With special dispensation for some projects to be completed later than originally envisioned, however, the CSP industry is gaining valuable experience. There is, therefore, the potential for increased Chinese deployment and investment in supply chains to be a future game-changer for the industry. There are only a handful of CSP projects in the IRENA Auction and PPA database to be commissioned in 2020 and 2021, but with a price of electricity of around USD 0.075/kWh, this represents a reduction of 59% compared to the global weighted-average project LCOE in 2019. For offshore wind, the years 2018 and 2019 marked the revelation in auction and tender results of a step change in pricing. Subsidy-free bids in the Netherlands and Germany highlighted the fact that in the right conditions, offshore wind can compete in the wholesale electricity market. 10 This divergence is more pronounced in this edition of IRENA’s cost update as a result of the revisions made to the database over the past year, including adding additional auction and PPA results and more detail on the contract conditions that have allowed an increased number of “corrected” auction values that more closely align with LCOE values. 26

LATEST COST TRENDS Meanwhile, record low bids (in 2019 USD) of USD 0.051/kWh in France and between USD 0.056-0.059/kWh in the United Kingdom undercut new capacity from fossil fuel options in those countries. In the case of the United Kingdom, they were also lower than expected long-run wholesale prices. This step-change in competitiveness has been driven by the industry achieving critical mass, along with innovations in wind turbine technology, installation and logistics; economies of scale in O&M (from larger turbines and offshore wind farm clustering); and improved capacity factors from higher hub heights, better wind resources (despite increasing costs in deeper waters offshore), and larger rotor diameters. With longer lead times than onshore wind and solar PV for project commissioning, these cost reductions will take time to appear in annual, newly commissioned cost data. By 2023, however, the majority of projects being commissioned are likely to have costs in the USD 0.05/kWh to USD 0.10/kWh range. With just 28 GW of total installed capacity globally at the end of 2019, this represents a remarkable achievement in driving down costs to competitive levels, all in the space of a decade. COSTS TRENDS BY TECHNOLOGY: 2010 TO 2019 Solar photovoltaics The remarkable, continued decline in the cost of electricity from solar PV has been driven by reductions in the total installed costs for utility-scale projects (Figure 1.4) 11 , with these declining by 79% between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, the global weighted-average total installed cost for utility-scale solar PV fell below USD 1 000/kW for the first time, to just USD 995/kW, down from USD 4 702/kW in 2010. In 2019, the 5 th and 95 th percentile of projects ranged from USD 714/kW to USD 2 320/kW. The year-on-year reduction in total installed costs in 2019 reached 13%. There has not only been a significant reduction in average costs, however. There has also been a shift in the distribution of projects around the weighted average, as the global weighted-average for utilityscale projects has shifted to the lower end of the 5 th and 95 th percentile ranges. As will be discussed in Chapter 3, there has also been a convergence in country-level installed costs, as increasingly competitive local markets have seen a range of countries move towards best practice project development and cost structures. Given the highly Figure 1.4 Global weighted average total installed costs, capacity factors and LCOE for solar PV, 2010-2019 Total installed cost 5 500 40% Capacity factor 0.50 Levelised cost of electricity 2019 USD/kW 5 000 4 500 4 000 3 500 3 000 2 500 2 000 1 500 1 000 500 4 702 3 936 2 985 2 615 2 364 1 801 1 637 1 415 1 208 995 Capacity factor 30% 20% 10% 17.7% 18.0% 16.4% 16.5% 18.2% 15.3% 16.6% 16.7% 15.1% 14% 2019 USD/kWh 0.45 0.40 0.35 0.30 0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.378 0.286 0.223 0.175 0.164 0.114 0.126 0.092 0.079 0.068 0 0% 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 0 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Source: IRENA Renewable Cost Database. 11 For Figures 1.4 to 1.9, please see the individual technology chapters and Annex One for all of the important assumptions required for the LCOE calculations. 27

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