According to this report in Bloomberg News, solar-energy is now becoming the cheapest form of new energy.
A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity.
This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. “A huge part of this story is China, which has been rapidly deploying solar” and helping other countries finance their own projects.
The world recently passed a turning point and is adding more capacity for clean energy each year than for coal and natural gas combined. Peak fossil-fuel use for electricity may be reached within the next decade.
Thursday’s BNEF report, called Climatescope, ranks and profiles emerging markets for their ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy projects. The top-scoring markets were China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India.
You may recall that one of Donald Trump’s many campaign promises was that he would bring coal jobs back, which means presumably supporting the building of new coal plants and opening coal mines. But what company is going to build a new power plant that is not only environmentally harmful but more expensive to boot?
Furthermore, China and other countries are forging ahead on solar and other renewables. Is the US going to revert to 19th century energy technology while others adopt 21st century ones? That would be an interesting way of pursuing his slogan to ‘make America great again’.