Are renewable energy sources competitive with non-renewable sources even without state and federal subsidies?

Sunday, February 28, 2021
By Remaya Campbell

Renewable energy producers have benefited from years of public support; in 2017, their U.S. federal tax breaks totaled $11.6 billion. But thanks in part to this support, renewable energy has become increasingly economically viable, with or without incentives.

The World Economic Forum notes an 82% drop in the cost of solar photovoltaic energy between 2010 and 2019, as well as cost reductions for concentrated solar power (47%), onshore wind (39%), and offshore wind (29%). In 2019, “half of new solar and wind installations undercut fossil fuels.”

Columbia University’s Earth Institute observes that even without subsidies, solar and wind are now cheaper than coal or natural gas over a facility’s lifetime. A 2020 report from the investment firm Lazard found some non-subsidized renewable energy was cost-competitive with conventional energy.

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