Wind and solar cement energy cost advantage even over marginal cost of coal

The cost of generating electricity from onshore wind and solar installations continued its cost advantage over fossil fuel generation in the latest edition of Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis.

The well regarded analysis noted onshore wind and utility-scale solar became cost-competitive with conventional generation several years ago on a new-build basis.

In its 2019 analysis these technologies continued to maintain competitiveness with the marginal cost of existing conventional generation technologies.

Lazard put the cost of unsubsidised wind power at $27 per MWh, subsidised PV solar at $32 and unsubsidised solar PV at $31.

The cost of utility-scale solar installations has fallen at 13 per cent a year for the past five years, while the cost of wind has declined seven per cent a year.

The marginal cost of existing conventional coal generation was $41/MWh, and nuclear $30.

Lazard noted these costs were for renewable generation without storage, which suffers a lack of dispatchability compared to traditional sources.

It said the cost of lithium-ion battery storage remained the cheapest storage option, with costs continuing to decline.

“Solar PV plus storage systems are economically attractive for short-duration wholesale and commercial use, though they remain challenged for residential and longer-duration wholesale use cases.”

Lazard’s analysis matches that of other electricity market observers such as Bloomberg new energy finance, as reported in @AuManufacturing news.

Image: Lazard

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