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Solar and wind set to be cheaper options for power generation by 2040

Words: Huw Morris
Renewable energy / Shutterstock_153683465

New solar and wind plants in the UK built in the next 20 years will be much cheaper than the government previously forecast.

Latest research from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows that these forms of renewable generation will cost significantly less than gas.

According to the study, the cost of large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generation by plants commissioned in 2040 could be between £28 and £39 per megawatt hour (MWh), compared with gas, which would cost between £124 and £127 per MWh. Even before that date – by 2025 – large-scale solar plant will be much cheaper than gas at a range of £39 to £51 per MWh against £84 to £87.

Offshore wind is estimated to cost between £36 and £44 per MWh by 2040, while the figures for onshore wind range between £38 and £50.

The Solar Trade Association said the government estimates officially recognise that large-scale PV is one of the cheapest generation options available.

“Now it is time for the government to set an ambitious target for the deployment of solar PV in the UK as it has done with offshore wind,” said chief executive Chris Hewett. “Our favoured goal, 40GW by 2030, aligns with recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change and the National Infrastructure Commission, and is achievable with moderate policy support.” 

Electricity Generation Costs 2020 is available on the UK Government website.

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