Wind and solar are cheaper than anything, Lazard reports

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Clean power

Published on November 15, 2020 |
par zachary shahan

November 15, 2020 through Zachary Shahan


We recently saw the International Energy Agency (IEA) report that solar power offers the cheapest electricity in history. It was a global report. A report by Lazard focused on the United States recently reported something similar. Highly reputable energy analysts have shown that wind and solar offer the cheapest electricity in the country, even significantly undercutting combined cycle natural gas power plants today. But that’s only half.

Solar and wind power is cheaper – much cheaper

Historically, when we write about such reports, we – and the analysts we refer to – compare the estimated electricity costs of new power plants. However, for at least a few of these reports, Lazard has included the average cost of electricity for plants already built – only the operating costs (the brown diamonds in the graph below). The latest report shows that new wind and solar power plants can even provide electricity for less than existant, in operation natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants! This is where things get interesting.

We’re at sort of a crossroads right now, but if solar and wind continue to decline while others stay the same or become more expensive, there will be serious pressures to prematurely pull out fossil and nuclear power plants. and scale up. even faster wind and solar power generation. Why pay more for electricity from old dirty power plants when you can get it cheaply with new, clean, green electricity?

Card courtesy of Lazard.

(Secondary notes: the light blue diamond is for offshore wind, the green diamond captures the price with 20% green hydrogen used in the natural gas combined cycle power plant, and the dark blue diamond captures the price with 20% % blue hydrogen used in the combined cycle natural gas plant.)

Here’s another graph that examines the electricity costs of new wind and solar power plants versus the marginal costs of existing fossil and nuclear power plants:

Card courtesy of Lazard.

Not bad.

Much more is available in the Lazard report examining the Leveled Cost of Electricity (LCOE) – that is, the average cost of producing electricity from a power plant over an estimated lifetime of the plant. , or 20 years – including shorter comparisons in several other countries. The little story, however, is that solar and wind power are much cheaper virtually everywhere.

Powering the world with 100% renewable energy

Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University and Mark A. Delucchi, affiliated with UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have told us for many years that wind, water and solar can power the world – and should power the world. In a report released at the end of December 2019, they and several other researchers published a very detailed plan of how 143 different countries could be powered by these renewable energy sources, including an in-depth look at what is needed and what. which should be available throughout the day. every day of the year.

Graphics provided by Jacobson et al.

The researchers call these analyzes “energy roadmaps for all sectors of the Green New Deal”. They examine expected job creation, changes in grid stability, social cost savings, and energy cost savings through a full transition to wind, water and solar by 2050.

Overall, this new clean world of wind, water and solar (WWS) “reduces energy needs by 57.1%, energy costs by 61% and social costs by 91%”. The initial costs add up to $ 73 trillion, but the long-term savings are well worth it. The WWS focus will also create an estimated 28.6 million more jobs than in a business-as-usual scenario (BAU).

“This article assesses the Green New Deal solutions to global warming, air pollution and energy insecurity in 143 countries. The solutions involve the transition of all energy to 100% clean and renewable wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency and storage. WWS reduces global energy needs by 57.1%, energy costs by 61% and social costs (private plus health plus climate) by 91% while preventing blackouts, creating millions more jobs that lost and requiring little land. Thus, 100% WWS needs less energy, costs less and creates more jobs than current energy. “

Wind & Sunshine – Cheaper, Cheaper, Cheaper

Analysis after analysis, study after study, the message is the same: eliminating solar and wind like we just won an NBA with three bogs is the cheapest solution. Whether it’s social costs, environmental costs, or just energy costs, turning wind and sun into electricity will save humans billions or trillions of dollars.

Now the story goes from cheaper to many cheaper. Perhaps we will have plenty of stories of early fossil fuel power plant retirements in 2021 and beyond.

Tesla rooftop solar

Note: If you want to join the renewable energy revolution and go solar through Tesla, feel free to use my Tesla referral code – ts.la/zachary63404 – to get $ 100 off an energy system Tesla solar (a PV system or Tesla solar roof tiles). But no pressure.


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Keywords: new green deal, Lazard, Lazard LCOE, Lazard leveled cost of electricity, Lazard leveled energy cost, lcoe, leveled electricity cost, Mark Delucchi, Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University

About the Author

Zachary Shahan tries to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here CleanTechnica as a director, editor and CEO. Zach is recognized worldwide as an expert in electric vehicles, solar energy and energy storage. He has presented on cleantech at conferences in India, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, United States, Canada and Curacao. Zach has long term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA]and Xpeng [XPEV]. But it does not (explicitly or implicitly) offer investment advice of any kind.



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