Cutting Costs for Renewables


The U.S. is set to overtake Germany as the world"s largest wind market in 2009.© Getty Images

The costs of generating solar power will be on par with the costs of power made from fossil fuels like natural gas and coal within a decade, according to clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge and green-economy nonprofit Co-op America. The two groups collaborated on a new report, the Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study, to provide a roadmap for utilities, solar companies, and regulators to work together so the nation can derive 10 percent or more of its power from the sun by 2025.

"As capital and fuel costs have doubled or tripled for coal, natural gas, and nuclear power over the past few years, solar power costs are coming down," report co-author Alisa Gravitz of Co-op America told reporters. "For the first time in history, cost-competitive solar power is now within the planning horizon of every utility in the nation."

In related news, the Financial Times reported last week that the U.S. is set to overtake Germany as the world’s largest wind market in 2009. American wind energy is riding the wave of an investment boom accounting for a 45 percent jump in capacity last year alone.

"Now is a pivotal moment for renewable energy in the United States," says Peter Duprey, chief executive of Acciona Energy North America, a subsidiary of the Spanish infrastructure group Acciona. "There is a real opportunity here for companies to stake a major claim in the market because there has been a pent-up demand."

Sources: Reuters; Clean Edge