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Plunging cost of wind and solar marks turning point in energy transition: IRENA via Reuters

By Matthew Green

LONDON (Reuters) – Plunging costs of renewables mark a turning point in a global transition to low-carbon energy, with new solar or wind farms increasingly cheaper to build than running existing coal plants, according to a report published on Tuesday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said the attractive prices of renewables relative to fossil fuel power generation could help governments embrace green economic recoveries from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Although scientists say the world needs to stage a much faster transition to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the annual report by the Abu Dhabi-based agency shows that wind and solar are increasingly competitive on price alone.

More than half of the renewable capacity added in 2019 achieved lower power costs than the cheapest new coal plants, the report found.

Auction results also suggest that the average cost of building new solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind power now costs less than keeping many existing coal plants running, reinforcing the case for phasing out coal, the report said.

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