Renewable energy can still present a “valid case” even at current oil and natural gas price levels, and can help support a post-COVID-19 recovery, Yousif Al Ali, Executive Director, Masdar Clean Energy, told Gulf Intelligence.
While the pandemic has led to project delays across the sector, renewable energy has continued its progress this year, Al Ali told the research firm in an online interview, as pricing is competitive. “In order to have economic recovery you need cheap energy – that will allow industries to come back and be more competitive,” he said.
Renewable energy providers are able to offer tailored technical solutions that meet specific needs, Al Ali explained, as well as attractive pricing, so that even with current fossil fuels price levels “the renewable energy case is still valid.”
A pivotal stage for renewables came in 2016, when a Masdar-led consortium set a then-record-low price for solar power generation in its winning bid for Phase 3 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park, Al Ali said, adding that “since then prices have continued to go lower. With these levels of pricing the case for renewables is still there.”
According to a recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), record-low prices have been set this year at auctions in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Ethiopia.
Renewable electricity costs have fallen sharply over the past decade, driven by improving technologies, economies of scale, increasingly competitive supply chains and growing developer experience, according to IRENA. Since 2010, utility-scale solar PV power has dropped 82 percent in cost, followed by concentrating solar power (CSP) at 47 percent, onshore wind at 39 percent and offshore wind at 29 percent.