Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2012: An Overview





Main Geographic Focus: 


RE&EE Category Taxonomy: 

  • REEE in general

File Tag: 

  • Market analysis


As the world embarks on the transition to a truly sustainable energy future, the world’s renewable resources and technologies increasingly offer the promise of cleaner, healthier and economically and technically feasible power solutions and sustainable energy access for all. With over 100 gigawatts of renewable power generation capacity added in 2011 alone, renewables have gone mainstream and are being supported by a “virtuous circle” of increasing deployment, fast learning rates and significant, often rapid, declines in costs. Given the central role that transparent and up‑to‑date cost and performance data for renewable power technologies play in the setting of policy support measures and investor decisions for renewables, the lack of this data in the public domain represents a significant barrier to the accelerated deployment of renewables. This report provides the most current, comprehensive analysis of the costs and performance of renewable power generation technologies available today. The results are largely based on new, original analysis of around 8 000 medium- to large‑scale commissioned or proposed renewable power generation projects from a range of data sources. The analysis provides simple, clear metrics based on the latest reliable information, thereby helping to inform the current debate on renewable power generation and to assist governments and private sector investors in their decision‑making. The report highlights that renewables are increasingly becoming the most competitive option for new grid supply and swift grid extension. Where electricity systems are dominated by oil‑fired plant, cheaper—sometimes significantly cheaper—renewable generation choices are available. For off‑grid power supply, renewables are already the default economic solution. IRENA will extend its costing analysis in 2013 to include transport and stationary applications. It will also launch the IRENA Renewable Costing Alliance to raise awareness of the importance of cost data. The alliance will bring together government agencies, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, project developers, utilities and research institutions to provide data and feedback in support of IRENA’s cost analyses of renewable energy technologies. By reducing the uncertainty that currently surrounds renewable energy costs and performance, IRENA’s cost analysis is aimed at assisting governments and regulators in their efforts to adopt more ambitious policies to promote renewables in an evolving investment environment. 

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