Renewable Energy Will Kill Fossil Fuels Faster Than You Think

Its never been about whether solar, wind, or hydroelectric renewable energy power generation assets were engineeringly feasible, but rather did the economic cost make sense. In the early 1990s when the first scientific research on climate change began to surface, renewable energy stood no chance of competing in the global economy versus considerably less expense coal fired and gas powered electric power plants. That all has changed. 

The United States sits upon the precipice of a renewable energy revolution. And, to get there, technological innovation will be the driving factor. Due to technological advances over the last two decades, the costs of both wind and solar power ($/MWh) have plummeted to the point where retail electricity prices from clean energy represent nearly a quarter of what they did in the early 1990s. This trend is only set to continue. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), by 2040, wind and solar will make up almost half of the world’s installed generation capacity, up from just 12 percent now, and account for 34 percent of all the power generated, compared with 5 percent at the moment. 

Currently solar and wind electricity prices have reached grid parity, or equivalent pricing with fossil fuels, in certain markets across the developed world. BNEF along with the United States Department of Energy believe that renewable power generation will likely become cheaper across all markets by the early 2020's. It is important to note that over the last 10 years the time frame for when renewable energy will become cheaper than conventional sources of electricity generation has continually fallen from the 2040's, to the 2030's, and now the 2020's. This trend is only likely to continue. The news from BNEF and other major energy research organizations makes a clear statement: renewable energy will beat out fossil fuels and it may be a lot sooner than world realizes.