The cost of renewable energy has dropped significantly over the past year, which means it is more affordable than ever to ‘go green’. Indeed, the option has become so mainstream, it can nearly compete—in terms of cost—with the big names in the energy game: oil, coal, and gas.
While it is easy to overlook, hydroelectric power continues to be the cheapest source of renewable energy, averaging roughly $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh). However, the cost to develop new power plants to gather onshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) power, biomass power, or geothermal energy, have all fallen to nearly compete with this too: on average, below $0.10/kWh.
Now, it should be noted that these figures are global averages, so the comparisons are not entirely accurate. Or, rather, it is better to say that other factors result in sometimes dramatic fluctuations to these costs. Still, the trend appears to indicate that costs are improving, overall. Biomass energy, for example, can range from costs as low as $0.05/kWh to $0.25/kWh.
What is most important, however, is not just the cost of using this energy, but in developing and harnessing it. The cost to develop a new power plant based on these fuel types can now directly compete with developing a power plant based on fossil fuels, falling typically within a range of $0.05/kWh to $0.15/kWh.
All of this is to say that the future looks bright, so to speak, because the cost of renewable (and clean) energy continues to drop. In some cases, these trends consistently exceed analyst expectations. And it is not only fuel costs that are going down. Battery storage prices are also falling at a rate far greater than what had been expected; and smart grid projects are expanding and advancing quicker than we had thought. When you think about the transition to electric vehicles and green manufacturing methods, the future is, indeed, looking to be quite a sustainable one.
But we can only achieve this future by investing in today’s advancements. By focusing more on renewable energy and new energy methods/technology, we can guarantee that the future we foresee today will soon become a reality.