Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has recently released a report documenting that unsubsidized onshore wind and solar are now the cheapest source of power in the United States and most major global economies. BNEF’s report examines the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of different power generating and energy storage technologies, excluding any subsidy. BNEF is a leading provider of research on clean energy, advanced transport, information technology, innovative materials and commodities. BNEF is a subsidiary of Bloomberg L.P. a privately held financial, software, data and media company headquartered in New York, New York.
BNEF’s study notes the drop in price ($/kWh) for onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power is due to new technology and improved operating efficiencies at utility-scale wind farms and solar parks. The average global levelized cost for onshore wind energy is now U.S. 5.2 ¢ per kWh. In regions with optimum onshore wind conditions like Texas, the levelized cost for onshore wind energy is only U.S. 2.7 ¢ per kWh. The average global levelized cost for solar is now U.S. 5.5 ¢ per kWh. In regions with optimum solar conditions Arizona, the levelized cost for onshore solar is only U.S. 3.0 ¢ per kWh.
The United States has some of the lowest prices for natural gas in the world due to extensive pipeline infrastructure and the development of light tight gas projects, also called “shale gas.” However, the price for power from natural gas in October 2018 was U.S. 3.8 ¢ per kWh. The average price for power from coal in October 2018 was U.S. 10.75 ¢ per kWh.
In conclusion, wind and solar are now a cheaper source for power than any form of fossil fuel (coal, oil or natural gas) or nuclear energy. Recent reports by the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Energy provide compelling evidence that greenhouse gases are creating climate change that can produce global devastation. Even, climate change deniers can no longer dispute the economic advantages of renewable energy. In my opinion, there is no reason for the United States not to commit to moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy.