Most new wind and solar projects are cheaper than coal

A new report, “Renewable Power Generation Costs 2020”, states that 800 GW of existing coal capacity already costs more than the new PV and wind projects commissioned in 2021, in Germany and Bulgaria.

The report stated that almost two-thirds of the wind and solar projects built globally last year would be able to generate electricity at a cheaper rate than even the world’s cheapest coal plants. In less than a decade, the cost of large-scale solar power has fallen significantly, by almost 85%, and wind by 48%. These stats alone show that the world has outgrown the need for coal plants, because renewable energy has become the cheapest source of power, making it an attractive case for countries to phase out other sources of energy.

In addition, the development of more solar energy plants will not only save countries costs but will also add jobs, and boost growth towards meeting the climatic ambitions. 

By replacing existing coal plants with renewable energy sources, in Europe alone, could save $32.3b every year in energy system costs and reduce carbon emissions by 3 gigatonnes. In South Africa there has been a lot of focus recently on implementing renewable energy source, with the commencement being announced for the largest power plant in Sub-saharan Africa.

The rise in coal-related energy costs which result in increased electricity tariffs and the unreliability of the national grid system, renewable energy is becoming that not only home-owners and business-owners are looking at but, even the ministers of the country with Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe stating in the recent energy conference that energy security was at the centre of the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, with  the intention to focus on reliable, clean and affordable energy sources. 

In recent weeks, there has been increased support for companies and households, even from the presidency, with Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa announcing an amendment to the Electricity Regulation Act which would see an increase in the limits for companies and households needing a license for the generation of their own electricity from 50 to 100 megawatts, with a push for the amendment to be published in 60-days or sooner.