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1 July 2021updated 05 Nov 2021 9:33am

Share of renewables undercutting cheap fossil fuels doubled in 2020 – report

The falling cost of renewables gives emerging economies a strong business case to power past coal in pursuit of a net-zero economy, says the International Renewable Energy Agency.

By Energy Monitor Staff

In 2020, the share of renewable energy costing less than the most competitive fossil fuel doubled, reaching 62% or 162GW of total renewable power generation, reveals a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.


Protesters in Manila, the Philippines, during a demonstration to denounce coal and fossil fuel industries, September 2018. (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP).

New renewables projects from 2020 will save emerging economies $156bn (€131.61bn) over their lifespan as clean energy technologies increasingly undercut the operational costs of existing coal plants, the report states.

The analysis shows that the cost of concentrating solar power fell by 16% in 2020, while the cost of onshore and offshore wind fell by 13% and 9%, respectively. The cost of solar PV declined by 7%.

Since 2010, the 534GW of renewable capacity added in emerging economies at lower costs than the cheapest coal option has reduced electricity costs by around $32bn every year.

Renewables present emerging economies tied to coal with an economically attractive phase-out agenda enabling the transition to a net-zero economy without compromising energy security, the report concludes.

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