Every half year, BloombergNEF runs its Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) Update, a worldwide assessment of the cost-competitiveness of different power generating and energy storage technologies – excluding subsidies. BNEF latest Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) figures show a global benchmark LCOE for onshore wind and PV projects at $47 and $51/MWh. The numbers are down 6% and 11% respectively from six months ago, mainly owing to cheaper equipment. The offshore wind LCOE benchmark sits at $78/MWh down 32% from from last year.
These are the key, high-level results for the second half of 2019:
New solar and onshore wind power plants have now reached parity with average wholesale prices in California and parts of Europe. In China, their levelized costs are now below the average regulated coal power price, the reference price tag in the country. These technologies are winning the race as the cheapest sources of new generation with two-thirds of the global population living in countries where PV or wind are cheaper than coal and gas power plants.
BNEF’s global benchmark levelized cost figures for onshore wind and PV projects financed in the last six months are at $47 and $51/MWh, down 6% and 11% respectively compared to the first half of 2019. For wind this is mainly due the fall in the price of wind turbines, 7% lower on average globally compared to the end of 2018. In China, the world’s largest solar market, the capex of utility-scale PV plants has dropped 11% in the last six months, reaching $0.57 million per MW. Weak demand for new plants in China has left developers and engineering, procurement and construction firms eager for business, and this has put pressure on capex.
BNEF estimates that some of the cheapest PV projects financed recently will be able to achieve an LCOE of $27-36/MWh, assuming competitive returns for their equity investors. Those can be found in India, Chile and Australia. Best-in-class onshore wind farms in Brazil, India, Mexico and Texas can reach levelized costs as low as $26-31/MWh already.
Offshore wind has seen the fastest cost declines, down 32% from just a year ago and 12% compared to the first half of 2019. BNEF’s current global benchmark LCOE estimate is $78/MWh. New offshore wind projects throughout Europe now deploy turbines with power ratings up to 10 MW, unlocking capex and opex savings. In Denmark and the Netherlands, we expect the most recent projects financed to achieve $53-64/MWh excluding transmission.