Renewables Becoming the Cheapest Option Across US and the World

February 6, 2018


Life comes at you fast, and in technology, it’s never been faster.

The future is knocking at the door, as much as Trump and co. would like to nail it shut.

Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey in the New York Times:

DENVER — Imagine planning your next trip and finding that Delta was selling first-class seats for less than the cramped middle seats in the back of the plane.

So you fly first class to New York and walk into the best French restaurant, only to discover that every dish is cheaper than the burger and fries down the street. Waiter, bring the duck à l’orange!

Fanciful as that might sound, something a bit like it is happening right now in the world of electricity.

Xcel Energy is a utility company with millions of electric customers in the middle of the country, from Texas to Michigan. In booming Colorado, the company asked for proposals to construct big power plants using wind turbines and solar panels.

The bids have come in so low that the company will be able to build and operate the new plants for less money than it would have to pay just to keep running its old, coal-burning power plants.

You read that right: In parts of the country, wind and solar plants built from scratch now offer the cheapest power available, even counting old coal, which was long seen as unbeatable.

Xcel, Colorado’s biggest power company, has pitched a plan to regulators that will involve replacing two large coal-burning units with renewable energy and possibly some natural gas. The company expects to save tens of millions of dollars as a result. Power bills in Colorado have been falling recently, and they are likely to fall further with this plan.

The same trend is occurring all over the world, even in countries that do not offer subsidies, with renewable projects routinely beating fossil-fuel projects in countries like Mexico and India. We are confident more price declines are coming.

The costs of huge batteries are also falling, and it looks as if they will turn out to be a big help in managing the variability of wind and solar power. Xcel is already testing a battery project near Denver, and it may buy more batteries as part of the new plan.


3 Responses to “Renewables Becoming the Cheapest Option Across US and the World”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Recommended read and worthwhile subscribing => Clean Economy
    The Day’s Top Energy and Climate Headlines Curated by the Editors of InsideClimate News

  2. redskylite Says:

    It’s great to see solar taking off in the K.S.A – a great change from reliance on abundant fossil supplies in the state and having an abundance of sunshine. Many parts of the Middle East face a challenging future with advancing Climate Change and must do all they can to fend the worst off.

    Leading Saudi developer and operator ACWA Power has announced it has won the right to develop the first utility-scale renewable energy project in Saudi Arabia, the 300 megawatt Skaka IPP PV solar project, at a record-breaking tariff of 2.34 US-cents per kilowatt-hour.

    “We are proud to have set yet another world record tariff for PV power, now at home, and are humbled to be entrusted with the first utility-scale renewable energy plant to be developed in the Kingdom, which will be the foundation of the visionary ambitious national program that seeks to maximize the utilization of renewable energy sources, as defined by the National Transition Plan 2020 and the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030,” said Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power.

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