New report by IRENA shows competitiveness of geothermal based on LCOE

Levelised cost of electricity generation (IRENA, 2018)
Alexander Richter 16 Jan 2018

IRENA has released its latest report on Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017, which highlights cost for renewable energy projects and levelised cost of electricity generation, showing the continued competitiveness of geothermal energy.

Renewable energy has emerged as an increasingly competitive way to meet new power generation needs. This comprehensive cost report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlights the latest trends for each of the main renewable power technologies, based on the latest cost and auction price data from projects around the world.

Download the Executive Summary – Download the Report

Broadly, the study finds:

  • Renewable power generation costs continue to fall and are already very competitive to meet needs for new capacity.
  • Competitive procurement – including auctions – accounts for a small fraction of global renewable energy deployment. Yet these mechanisms are very rapidly driving down costs in new markets..
  • Global competition is helping to spread the best project development practices, reducing technology and project risk and making renewables more cost-competitive than ever before.
  • In developed countries, solar power has become cheaper than new nuclear power.
  • The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from solar photovoltaics (PV) decreased by 69% between 2010 and 2016 – coming well into the cost range of fossil fuels.
  • Onshore wind, whose costs fell 18% in the same period, provides very competitive electricity, with projects routinely commissioned nowadays at USD 0.04/kWh.
  • As installation accelerates, the cost equation for renewables just gets better and better. With every doubling of cumulative installed capacity for onshore wind, investment costs drop by 9% while the resulting electricity becomes 15% cheaper.
  • Solar PV module costs have fallen by about four-fifths, making residential solar PV systems as much as two-thirds cheaper than in 2010.

The IRENA Renewable Cost Database includes 15,000 data points for LCOE from projects around the globe, representing over 1,000 Gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity. An additional auctions database encompasses over 7,000 projects with nearly 300 GW of capacity.

For geothermal energy, the report provides some rather interesting findings.

“By the end of 2016, geothermal global cumulative installed capacity was still relatively modest at 12.6  GW and was surpassed in installed capacity terms by offshore wind in that year. Geothermal electricity generation is a mature, base-load generation technology that can provide very competitive electricity where high quality resources are well-defined. The LCOE of conventional geothermal power varies from $0.05 to $0.13/kWh for recent projects. Yet the LCOE can be as low as USD 0.04/kWh for the most competitive projects, such as those which utilise excellent, well-documented resources and are brownfield developments.”

The report provides an overview on installed cost trends, capacity factors, and levelised cost of electricity generation.



For the full report see links above or here below.

Source: IRENA