Does Clean Power Cost Too Much?

This is an open discussion about the common misconception that clean power costs too much.

Have you heard this argument? How has this misconception affected your work to advance clean power? What arguments and evidence have you found useful to respond to and dismiss this misconception?

You can review the Clean Power Hub’s background on this subject, and then use this forum to:

  • Ask questions of and get help from peers and experts
  • Share relevant data and analysis
  • Discuss effective communications strategies
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As a general statement, I think that this is a red herring. Where clean power can get access to the grid, or to a customer, it can generally provide electricity at a cost less than the utility avoided cost. Currently (as of January 2021) in Thailand, an average electricity tariff for a commercial or industrial customer might be in the range of 3-3.5 Thai baht (~10-12 US cents) per kWh. A solar developer can put ~500 kW to 2 MW of solar panels on top of the facility, and deliver clean energy to the factory for just ~2 Thai baht (~6.5 US cents) per kWh.

Similarly recent work on solar PV “farms” in the SE Asia region (Cambodia) by ADB highlights that if the government and electric utility provide supportive conditions (e.g., land availability, evacuation through the grid, other handholding support), it is possible to get solar delivered at just US 3.8 cents per kWh.

Also, in answer to critics of renewable energy, who complain about the variability of renewable energy supply, in many countries and locations around the world, the cost of solar PV and battery storage (to offset some of the variable output of solar) is at or below “grid parity”.