The Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics has released a new Australian Energy Technology Assessment Report which dramatically revises down previous estimates of the price of renewable energy in the coming decades – but remains at odds with other countries which predict much lower prices still.
In releasing the Report, the Bureau's Executive Director, Professor Quentin Grafton, said that "By the mid 2030s some renewable technologies, such as solar photovoltaic and wind onshore, are expected to have the lowest levelised costs of electricity generation of all of the evaluated technologies….Among the non-renewable technologies, combined cycle gas (and in later years combined with carbon capture and storage) and nuclear offer the lowest levelised costs of electricity generation over most of the projection period, and remain cost competitive with the lower cost renewable technologies out to 2050.”
This represents a substantial change from the Australian Government’s 2010 "White Paper", the Australian Energy Resource Assessment, which predicted that the cost of solar PV will be 34 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the cost of oil will be an equally incredible $120 a barrel in 2030!.
In contrast, U.S. Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, has said that the goal of getting the cost of solar power down to 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 is a growing reality. This would make solar power in the United States cheaper than coal and about the same price as natural gas by 2020. And China and India have both said that they expect solar power to be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020 – not the mid-2030's.