The rapid deployment of renewable power generation technologies, combined with high learning rates, has driven down costs. This trend is projected to continue, making renewables increasingly competitive with fossil fuels in countries across the world and the least-cost option in a growing number of markets.
A landmark year for renewables, overall capacity additions in 2013 reached a new record high of more than 120 GW, with new solar deployment exceeding wind for the first time. These additions included 38 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV); 35 GW of new wind power capacity; 34 GW of hydropower; 6 GW of biomass; 1 GW of concentrating solar power (CSP); and 0.4 GW of geothermal power.
The cost competitiveness of renewable power has reached historic levels. Biomass for power, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind can all now provide electricity competitively compared to fossil fuels at the utility scale. Further equipment cost reductions can be expected up to 2020, which will lower the weighted average LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) of renewables.
As a result, renewable technologies now represent the most economical solution for new capacity in a growing number of countries and regions and are typically the most economical solution for new grid-connected capacity where suitable resources are available.
For more details on power generation developments and technology-specific costs, performance and future trends, click on the applicable link below or to your right.