Renewable energy
Solar panels with three wind turbines in the background /Archive

A Wall Street Journal article says that “global spending on renewable energy is outpacing investments in electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants.”

The article adds that this trend is largely driven by falling costs of producing wind and solar power. Starting that “renewable-energy prices are now competitive with fossil-fuel generation in many places.”

In 2016, about $297 billion was spent on renewables—compared with $143 billion on new nuclear, coal, gas and fuel-oil power plants.

In 2017, the global average cost of electricity from onshore wind was $60 per megawatt hour and $100 for solar, toward the lower end of the $50 to $170 range for new fossil-fuel facilities in developed nations, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The increasing attractiveness of renewable energy has diminished demand for large gas-burning turbines. Both General Electric Co. and Siemens AG have announced large layoffs in their turbine divisions in the past year to cut oversupply.

In many places, opting for renewables “is a purely economic choice,” said Danielle Merfeld, the chief technology officer of GE’s renewable energy unit. “In most places, it is cheaper and other technologies have become more expensive.”

Recent power auctions have suggested that renewable energy prices have further to fall.

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