Australia seems poised to become one of the global leaders in terms of renewable energy; after a study showed that the country could realistically go 100% renewable energy in just 10 years, now, a different study concluded that wind energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels.
The research was led by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and it showed that electricity from wind power can now be supplied more cheaply in Australia than power from either coal or natural gas - also, other renewable energy sources aren't far behind.
Older coal plants still compete with wind power, and are sometimes cheaper, because their construction costs have depreciated. However, when compared to any new power generation in Australia, renewables now appear to be the way to go.
The study shows that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of [$80 per megawatt hour in Australian dollars], compared to [$143 per megawatt hour] from a new coal plant or [$116 per megawatt hour] from a new baseload gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme. However even without a carbon price (the most efficient way to reduce economy-wide emissions) wind energy is 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas.…
The study also showed that since 2011, the cost of wind generation has fallen by 10% and the cost of solar photovoltaics by 29%. In contrast, the price of non-renewable traditional energy sources has been constantly increasing; what's interesting is that unlike the US and most of the world, banks are adapting to this as well.
“The study surveyed Australia’s four largest banks and found that lenders are unlikely to finance new coal without a substantial risk premium due to the reputational damage of emissions-intensive investments – if they are to finance coal at all.”
Hopefully, this trend will catch on in other parts of the world, where... ahem... the oil industry tells the government what to do. Just saying.