Renewable energy costs continue to plummet — is it time to make the switch?

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The RWE Niederaussem lignite-fired power station releases steam, behind two renewable energy producing wind turbines in Bergheim, Germany, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Germany plans an entirely coal phase out and to shut down all remaining coal-fired plants by 2038. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

(KXAN) — It’s been nearly two months since the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has released their most recent climate report. The last one that came out in 2013 helped shed light on the changing climate around the world and helped establish the Paris Climate Accord.

The findings from this most recent report have exceeded previous predictions that the climate crisis is here and more present than ever before. Warnings were issued in the report that cited if little-to-no action continues, we may pass an irreversible tipping point that could spell disaster and extinction of many species.

Disasters all across the globe continue to costs lives and billions of dollars in damages. And for so long, it has seemed as though not enough has been done to combat the crisis at hand — until now.

A recent report from Oxford University indicates that the price for energy production of nearly all energy types (from fossil fuels to renewables) has united at an average price of $100 per megawatt hour.

This is a big deal when you look at the costs over time per energy production.

Fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal have remained steady since its early years of discovery nearly 140 years ago. Which is rather cheap at around $100 per megawatt hour.

On the other hand, renewable energies such as wind, solar, and batteries have all started out very expensive to produce over the past half century, but are now some of the cheapest forms of energy production according to a report by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency). These prices have now fallen to, or less than, most fossil fuel production costs.

If renewable energy sources continue to freefall, which Oxford researchers suggest, not only will they be easier for developing countries to build their grids with, but it will be even easier (and cheaper) for developed countries to make the switch.

If/when we’re able to decarbonize our world by switching to a portfolio of renewable energies, then we take a huge step in combating climate change by reducing the greenhouse gasses currently being emitted.

The switch to cheaper, renewable energy could also save “many trillions of dollars” across the globe in energy costs, according to Oxford research. Which also does not account for the billions upon billions in damages caused by disasters that many scientists believe to be exacerbated by climate change.

It’s worth noting that this week, Congress is expected to debate President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill includes a mandate called the “Clean Energy Standard” – which essentially will require a certain percentage of U.S. energy be generated by zero-carbon resources.

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