A recent meta-review by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that the cost of utility-scale solar in some regions of the U.S. is cheaper today than the cost of fuel for natural-gas plants.
That trend will likely only continue to spread across the U.S., even with the current low price of natural gas.
Michael Liebreich, chair of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s advisory board, recently presented data at BNEF’s London Summit and expressed an increasingly bullish view when comparing renewables to natural gas -- and not just in the U.S.
BNEF doesn’t see the levelized cost of energy for solar competing with natural gas in the U.S. until after 2030, but for the rest of the globe, solar can compete with natural gas in the nearer term.
For India, China and Europe, BNEF forecasts that solar will be competitive with natural gas by 2020. Wind is already there today.
Coal doesn’t fare much better, according to Liebreich’s presentation. He noted various coal companies that have filed for bankruptcy, including Alpha Natural Resources, whose slogan is, “We fuel progress around the world.”
“Not anymore, they don’t,” quipped Liebreich. “Going into Paris [site of the United Nations Climate Change Conference], we’re seeing something different.”
By 2025, utility-scale solar prices will rival coal in Europe and India, and China isn’t far behind, with both wind and solar reaching parity with coal prices by 2030. BNEF estimates that renewables will take two-thirds of the more than $12 trillion power investment slated to be made by 2040.
Listen to Michael Liebriech describe why renewables can't be stopped: