Nearly 10 years ago, the Australian Energy Market Operator in its Integrated System Plan had predicted on the ability of wind, solar and their storage to beat new fossil fuel plants. Today, The BloombergNEF’s assessment on it has just confirmed it. (See: Renewables Overtake)
It is the latest Renewable Energy stunning update in the history of human civilisation:
1.The recent annual Lazard uptake,
2. The voluminous World Energy Outlook from the more conservative International Energy Agency, and
3. The Bloomberg, the latest
All three have concluded in what can be aptly termed as a welcome gush of fresh air: Wind and Solar storage will beat fossil fuels out of the reckoning in near future. Plus, they have come up with more startling revelations:
– Coal used to be the undisputed king not so long ago in China and India – two fastest growing energy markets. But that is history now. Coal has been fully dethroned from its position,
– In India, the best-in-class solar and wind plants are now half the cost of new coal plants, even while considering the imposition of import tariffs on solar cells and modules,
– Cost of battery storage is steadily declining; batteries co-located with PV or wind are becoming more common,
– In countries like Australia and India, unsubsidised wind and solar with four hours of battery storage fare far better than new coal or gas plants.
– the emergence of battery storage as a source of peak power and flexible capacity implies that the costs of these services will fall to levels never attained by traditional fossil-fuel peaking plants.
BloombergNEF’s benchmarks – the global levelized costs:
– for onshore wind has fallen 6 per cent to USD 52/MWh during the last six months. It is mainly due to cheaper turbines and improved technology. It is now @ USD 27/MWh in India and Texas, without subsidy.
– for new PV (no-tracking) it is at USD 60/MWh, a 13 per cent fall from its analysis six months ago. Countries with excellent solar resources such as India fare much better.
The writing on the wall is now there for everyone to see. Solar and wind have beaten coal, challenged nuclear and replaced gas. The environment heaves a sigh of relief.
The governments all over the world will now give their coal-plans a rethink. There are a number of upcoming ambitious coal based power plants. For example, NTPC’s Barh Super Thermal Power Project, Bihar. The stakeholders must reconsider the project. It is never too late. Given the size of land they must bring the wind and solar options on the table. The coal miners and the boiler operators need not go jobless. Other job, career and business opportunities, both in better quality and number, will soon emerge.
However, the oil exporters will surely see a serious drop in demand. ATF prices may fall. The global aviation scenario may improve.
Soon the holes in ozone layers will start filling up. The glaciers and the polar ice caps will start building up again. The world may not submerge in water as the sea-level rise will be arrested. Countries like India and Australia have done remarkably well to fulfill Paris obligations much ahead of their schedule.
With wind and solar power we stand a chance to contribute to the massive effort to save the planet and the human civilization on it from its self inflicted destruction. The tide is changing, one should know. And very soon, people will be tapping into solar and wind power like crazy. And considering that there is hardly a shortage of it anywhere on the globe, there is no limit to how much can be achieved by it.