Shout about RE cost benefits – Insight

The renewables industry needs to shift its public profile to focus more on the massive future cost benefits offered by wind and solar – and less on demands for subsidies and targets, says the latest research note from Recharge Insight.

The note – entitled Changing the message – argues that with renewables such as onshore wind and PV moving towards an “unassailably” cheaper cost of energy profile than fossils and nuclear, the time is right to stress that fact more loudly in the public debate.

The extremely well-funded lobbying machine of other energy interests has proved adept at keeping the need to subsidise renewables in the public eye, the note adds, forcing the clean-power sector’s own trade bodies to fight on the same ground.

Recharge Insight director Robert Clover says: “It is time to adjust the message. The renewables industry should focus less on the maintenance of targets – with the inference that further costly support mechanisms are needed – and seek more to highlight the great levelised cost of energy (LCOE) story that it has to tell.”

Clover notes that onshore and offshore wind, and PV are heading towards a position 25%-40% cheaper than fossils and nuclear by 2025, even when external factors such as subsidies, capacity payments and system costs are accounted for.

Recharge Insight also cites the Society’s Cost of Energy (SCOE) metric championed by Siemens, which builds in factors such as energy security, employment creation and pollution mitigation to create a more comprehensive measure of costs by generation source.

Clover describes the SCOE profile of solar and wind as “extremely compelling”, and one that could give “politicians and the public alike a technical basis for assessing future energy choices, as well as serving as an extremely important basis for discussion and debate”.

Recharge Insight subscribers can access the full research note here. A free trial is also available.

Recharge Insight is a new premium subscription service aimed at providing renewables thought leaders and decision-makers with best-in-class analysis of key issues facing the industry. For more information on Recharge Insight, contact Ksenia Burkova at