Alternative energy sources, namely renewable energy sources, has been big on the to-do list for environmentally concerned citizens, if not always their governments, for a long time. Unfortunately, one of the biggest roadblocks to finding a source of renewable energy has been cost—many options are simply too expensive to be viable. Or at least they used to be.
Word from Lazard, whose CEO is Kenneth Jacobs, is that wind energy has reduced drastically in price since 2008. In just four years, wind energy has dropped in price by 50%. Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis 7.0, compared the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) on a megawatt hour (MWh) basis for a number of renewable energy technologies to fossil fuels. The findings are wonderfully shocking.
While the LCOE from coal (one of the cheapest conventional sources of energy) averages between $65 and $145 per MWh, wind sits comfortably between $45 and $95 per MWh. Even gas combined cycle has a slightly higher average, $61-$87 per MWh. Even better yet is the news that wind energy could continue to drop in price in the coming years when combined with energy storage.
Lazard’s report shows that utility-scale solar PV has also declined significantly, its LCOE dropping by 50% in the past four years. This reduction in cost of utility-scale solar PV was expected, however, while the same drastic reduction in wind cost was not.
There are still many roadblocks and challenges to be met along the way, but clean energy is becoming far more viable and cost-competitive than ever before. Our technology is improving, and slowly we are finding ways to generate electricity without emissions.
Wind and solar are leading the charge into the future of energy.