New wind and solar plants generate
cheaper low-carbon electricity than the latest nuclear reactors,
a study shows, indicating they will lead a global push for green
Newly built wind and solar with natural-gas as a backup can
make power a fifth cheaper than nuclear backed by gas, the study
by consultant Prognos AG shows. Excluding the backup generation,
renewables produce power 50 percent cheaper than nuclear,
according to the study. Gas-fired power may be used when demand
exceeds generation available from wind and solar.
The full report, scheduled for release tomorrow, was
commissioned by Agora Energiewende, owned by the Mercator
Foundation and European Climate Foundation involved in promoting
action on climate change.
“Wind and solar systems will dominate the power system in
increasingly more countries,” Patrick Graichen, head of Agora
Energiewende, said in an e-mailed statement. “The battle for
the cheapest CO2-free power mix is decided.”
The study brings succor to those arguing for renewables.
German consumers complain power costs have risen, reaching
the second-highest in the European Union, partly from subsidies
to clean-energy projects installed in the past years. Aid paid
by consumers for renewables, which makes up about a quarter of
Germany’s power, may total about 24 billion euros ($33 billion)
this year, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in January.
That’s mainly due to high costs for old units, according to
the study. A system based on more advanced solar, onshore wind
and gas would cost about 679 million euros a year and one run on
new nuclear and gas would total 857 million euros, it showed.
The study constructs its estimates using German renewables
subsidies, where costs have “fallen dramatically,” the latest
cost estimates for carbon capture and planned U.K. subsidies for
nuclear, which it puts at about 112 euros a megawatt-hour.
The report doesn’t take account of future cost reductions.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Stefan Nicola in Berlin at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
Tony Barrett, Randall Hackley