In recent decades, wind turbines have become a familiar sight in many countries. Onshore wind projects around the world now consistently deliver electricity for USD 0.04 per kilowatt‑hour (kWh), with some projects achieving as low as USD 0.03/kWh. Yet up-to-date cost data and reliable projections of future costs remain limited.
The “learning curve” — a concept borrowed from manufacturing — assesses the rate at which production costs fall as deployment grows due to manufacturing and technology improvements. As an analytical tool, the curve captures past evolution and is a useful tool for assessing potential future cost trends for a given technology. In short, it provides a useful estimate of how future costs will fall as deployment (measured in some kind of physical units) grows. Continue reading Onshore Wind Industry Learning Fast→
Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.
Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’
In 2002, Denmark commissioned the world’s first commercial-scale offshore wind power plant. With an installed capacity of 160 megawatts (MW), the Horns Rev plant set the stage for a storm of ever growing farms with larger turbines; by the end of 2015 there was 13 gigawatts (GW) of installed offshore wind capacity in the world. And while most offshore plants are located in Europe, innovations are positioning the technology to become a leading global power generator in the future.
For the first time, privately-produced renewable energy resource data is available for download to all for free. This past May, IRENA’s Global Atlas for Renewable Energy unveiled a new feature that allows users to download renewable resource data from selected datasets for offline analysis. Up to now, only data from selected publicly-funded sources was available. This has changed now that Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, has made its average annual data on solar irradiation and wind speeds available for download through the Global Atlas. This capability gives developers, policy makers, and researchers access to globally consistent resource data that can be used in setting policy and performing initial project planning and prospecting.
The dramatic cost reductions we’ve seen in recent years for solar and wind electricity will continue well into the future, according to a new report released today by IRENA. It finds that by 2025 – with the right regulatory and policy frameworks in place – average electricity costs could decrease 59% for solar photovoltaics (PV), 35% for offshore wind, 26% for onshore wind, and up to 43% for concentrated solar power compared to 2015. Continue reading Dramatic Price Drops For Solar & Wind Electricity Set To Continue→
Covering the latest news from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and developments in renewables.