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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. www.irena.org

RENEWABLE POWER

RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION COSTS 2019 cost of electricity in 2021 from new onshore wind capacity. Some of these plants will be exposed to international market prices, which have fallen since the Carbon Tracker analysis, but this has likely been offset to some extent by the continued decline in the average capacity factors of coal-fired plants, especially the less competitive ones, in this higher-cost sample. This report assumes that by 2021, in line with expectations for a recovery in economic growth, that coal prices return to prices around 10-20% lower than in 2018, but that capacity factors are also lower. The net result is marginal operating cost situation for most coal plants of around the same values as the original analysis (some plants will be slightly higher or lower depending on efficiency and capacity factor values). Notably, the analysis here is based on the global averages for the solar PV and onshore wind costs, while individual countries’ competitive balances will look different and would need to be confirmed by a country-level analysis. The calculations presented here should therefore be treated with caution and considered indicative of the order of magnitude of the opportunity, due to the need to do a more in-depth country-level analysis and the uncertainty surrounding traded coal prices in 2021. This economic opportunity, is indeed significant. Closing the least-competitive 500 GW of coal-fired capacity would save consumers between USD 12 billion and USD 23 billion per year, taking into account USD 0.005/kWh for grid integration costs, the extent to which coal prices recover or not from their 2018 values and how fast capacity factors for coal continue to fall. Over 20 years, this would represent cumulative savings to consumers, worldwide, of USD 244-463 billion. This would reduce coal-fired power generation by around 2 170 terawatt hours (TWh), or about 22% of the total 10 100 TWh global coal-fired generation in 2018 (BP, 2019). Assuming one-third of this coal-fired generation reduction was made up by building new solar PV and two-thirds by building onshore wind, this would require around 860 GW of new capacity. This may seem like a very large increase in capacity for solar PV and wind. Yet, for solar PV, this would represent less than two years of the average annual additions level to 2030 required for compliance with the Paris Agreement (IRENA, 2020b) and three years of onshore wind’s. Even unlocking a fraction of this economic opportunity could provide an important, clean stimulus, as the additional investment represents a total of around USD 1.1 trillion, with USD 274 billion for the utility-scale solar PV capacity and USD 813 billion for the onshore wind capacity. Compared to investment in solar PV and onshore wind in 2019, this would represent a net stimulus of around USD 940 billion. LEARNING CURVES FOR SOLAR AND WIND POWER TECHNOLOGIES The cost declines experienced from 2010 to 2019 and signalled for 2020 to 2023 in the IRENA Auctions and PPA database represent a remarkable rate of change. They also have enormous implications for the competitiveness of renewable power generation technologies over the medium term. In addition, they provide some lessons that might be applicable to the myriad technologies that need to be scaled up over the coming decade, in order to ensure decarbonisation of end-use sectors – from electrolysers to electric vehicles and heat pumps to stationary battery storage. Figure 1.11 shows the global weighted-average LCOE and Auction/PPA price trends for utility-scale solar PV, CSP, onshore and offshore wind from 2010 to 2021 (or 2023, in the case of offshore wind) plotted against deployment. By placing both these variables on a logarithmic scale (log-log), the line on the charts represents the learning rate for these technologies. The learning rate is the average cost reduction experienced for every doubling of cumulative installed capacity. The LCOE learning rate for offshore wind (i.e. the LCOE reduction for every doubling in global cumulative installed capacity) is expected to reach 10% over the period 2010 to 2023, with new capacity additions over this period estimated to be 95% of the cumulative, installed offshore wind capacity that would be deployed out to 2023. For onshore wind, the LCOE learning rate for the period 2010 to 2019 was 23%. Extending the period to 2021 with the data from Auction and PPA data in this report, however, implies a learning rate for the period 2010 to 2021 of 29%. 38

LATEST COST TRENDS New capacity added over this period covers an estimated 76% of cumulative installed capacity out to 2021. In both cases, this is materially higher than the estimated LCOE learning rate calculated by IRENA in 2018, which was 21%, and represents the more rapid fall in the cost of electricity than was implied by the data available two years ago, although part of the reduction to 2021 comes from a more detailed treatment of the non-indexed price contracts in the Auctions and PPA Database. Utility-scale solar PV has the highest estimated learning rate for the cost of electricity over the period 2010 to 2019, of 36%. The learning rate rises to 40% when the Auction and PPA data are used to extend the time series out to 2021, a period over which 95% of cumulative installed capacity for this technology will have been added. The learning rate for CSP for the period 2010 to 2019 is 23%. It rises to 38% for the period 2010 to 2021 using the PPA and Auction prices in this report for 2020 and 2021, when an estimated 83% of cumulative installed capacity for this technology will have been deployed. These learning rates represent quite remarkable rates of deflation for wind and, in particular, solar power technologies. Just quite how remarkable can be seen by comparing solar and wind power cost declines to Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for individual unit costs. For instance, of the price quotes for 531 individual items that are used to compile the United Kingdom’s CPI index, only five items 13 (all of relatively little weight in a household’s annual consumption) saw price declines of 23% to 32% (nominal) between January 2010 and August 2019. At the same time, however, the global nominal LCOE decline of solar PV was over 70%, that of CSP over 40%, that of onshore wind 35%, and that of offshore wind 24%. Figure 1.11 The global weighted-average LCOE and Auction/PPA price learning curve trends for solar PV, CSP, onshore and offshore wind, 2010 – 2021/23 0.500 2019 USD/kWh 0.400 0.300 0.200 0.150 0.100 0.070 0.050 0.040 0.030 2012 2010 2011 2013 2011 2010 Fossil fuel cost range 2017 2019 2014 2012 2020 2021 2010 2015 2016 2018 2020 2021 2017 2019 2022 2023 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2010 2013 2018 2011 2019 2018 2019 2020 2021 2020 2021 0.020 0.015 0.010 1 000 2 000 5 000 10 000 20 000 50 000 100 000 200 000 500 000 1 000 000 Cumulative deployment (MW) Historical Estimate Concentrating solar power Offshore wind Onshore wind Solar photovoltaic Source: IRENA. Note: The LCOE and auction price data are for utility-scale projects. 13 These were: strawberries, fruit smoothies, internet computer games, household cleaner and underground/metro fares outside London. 39

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