The costs associated with generating power from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has revealed.
The report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, says that hydropower, biomass, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.
"Renewable energy projects across the globe are now matching or outperforming fossil fuels, particularly when accounting for externalities like local pollution, environmental damage and ill health," said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA. "The game has changed; the plummeting price of renewables is creating a historic opportunity to build a clean, sustainable energy system and avert catastrophic climate change in an affordable way."
For hydropower, the report notes that 36GW capacity was added in 2014, an increase of 13% since 2010, leading to a cumulative installed capacity of 1061GW, which equates to 20% more since 2010.