I’ve got nothing but charts for you today. Sorry about that. But I might as well get them out of my system. Here’s one that Dave Roberts is excited about. It shows the average bid response to a request for new power plants from Colorado’s biggest electricity supplier:
Now, the bad news is that renewable sources are still more expensive than fossil fuels. Gas turbine plants clock in at about $7 per MWh, while renewables range from $18-36. On the bright side, renewables are already a lot less expensive than building new coal plants, which is one reason coal is dead no matter how much Donald Trump allows coal companies to ignore environmental devastation from mining operations.
Roberts also points out that the cost of storage is surprisingly low. For wind plants it adds about $3/MWh to the cost, and for solar it adds about $6. Since storage is necessary for renewables to become reliable baseload generators that can supply electricity 24/7, this is important.
Roberts also points to the sheer scale here. Xcel received 430 bids compared to 55 for a similar request a few years ago. Of those, 350 were for renewable energy, representing over 100 GW of capacity. There are lots of companies working feverishly in the renewable energy sector.
Renewables still have a ways to go. They still cost significantly more than fossil plants, and the most efficient type of fossil generation—gas-fired combined cycle plants—is redacted in the Xcel report. Those bids probably came in even cheaper than the other fossil bids.
But read the whole thing. One of the things that Roberts is excited about is that these are actual, concrete bids, and they’re considerably less than anyone was projecting a year ago. In the real world, the price of renewable energy is dropping faster than even the most optimistic projections.