Renewables continues to trump fossil fuels on costs, with the majority of new developments now producing cheaper energy.
According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), 162 gigawatts (GW), or 62%, of total green energy generation added last year was less expensive than the cheapest hydrocarbon.
Entitled Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020, the study shows that costs for low carbon technologies continue to fall “significantly”.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) dropped by 16%, onshore wind by 13%, offshore wind by 9% and solar PV by 7%.
But despite the low costs, renewables increasingly undercut the operational cost of coal produced energy too, the report said.
IRENA said the findings of the study give countries, both developing and developed, a “strong business case” to “power past” coal in pursuit of a net-zero economy.
Francesco La Camera, the industry body’s director general, said: “Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power.
“Renewables present countries tied to coal with an economically attractive phase-out agenda that ensures they meet growing energy demand, while saving costs, adding jobs, boosting growth and meeting climate ambition.
“I am encouraged that more and more countries opt to power their economies with renewables and follow IRENA’s pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”
He added: “We are far beyond the tipping point of coal. Following the latest commitment by G7 to net-zero and stop global coal funding abroad, it is now for G20 and emerging economies to match these measures.
“We cannot allow having a dual-track for energy transition where some countries rapidly turn green and others remain trapped in the fossil-based system of the past.
“Global solidarity will be crucial, from technology diffusion to financial strategies and investment support. We must make sure everybody benefits from the energy transition.”