Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Finance: Levelized Cost of Electricity for Renewables Continues to Decrease

Digging Deeper, Why Renewables are Beating Coal and Gas in Some Parts of the World (Renewable Energy World)

Earlier this month Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) announced findings that the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for wind and solar is now cheaper than coal and gas in Europe. Further the organization said that it is actually the renewables that are pushing up the LCOE of gas and coal. Because the BNEF analysis is so deep and complex — it uses thousands of data points the company says — the press release that it issued was hard to understand. Here we take a deeper look at the process involved in comparing energy generation technologies to determine exactly why renewables will continue to push out fossils for the foreseeable future.

A look at the chart below (part of a presentation at the BNEF EMEA Summit in London on October 13) offers a deeper look at the BNEF analysis. It shows not only that the LCOE for wind and solar is beating coal and natural gas in some regions of the world, but that other renewable technologies such as geothermal, biomass incineration and small hydro also have very low LCOEs and in many regions are cost competitive or cheaper than fossil or nuclear energy.