In a big win for renewable energy, the cost of solar and wind power has plummeted in recent years, making it the same price as traditional fossil fuels in about 30 countries, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.
The cost of solar energy has dropped 80% since 2009, and wind energy has dropped by 30% in the last three years.
This shift means more countries have reached “grid parity” — where the cost of fossil fuels and renewable energy are the same.
"If electricity costs were to rise by 3% annually, 80% of the global market would reach grid parity in the next couple of years,” the report says.
Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia have all reached grid parity, according to the report.
These plummeting prices make renewable energy ripe for investment, according to the WEF.
“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”
The UN Conference on Climate Change in 2015 called for $1 trillion investment in renewable energy in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees. Currently only $200 billion is invested in renewable energy.
These findings come on heels of a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which found that as of 2015, "clean" energy is being invested in at a higher rate than "dirty" energy. In the next six years, worldwide renewable energy will grow 13% more than previously expected, the IEA found.
In 2015, renewables were 23% of overall electricity generation. The IEA projects it will be 28% by 2021.
Solar panels in particular saw massive growth in 2016, according to a solar energy trade group.
The third quarter of 2016 was the solar industry’s biggest quarter ever, the Solar Energy Industries Association said in a release.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to extol the benefits of renewable energy.
Those concerned about the cost of transitioning to renewable energy should truly fear the cost of failing to do so as soon as possible.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 27, 2016
Our priority now is to transform our energy system to renewables, not empower fossil fuel CEOs like Mr. Trump is doing.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 27, 2016