A new study from German researchers highlighted by Deutsche Welle concludes that wind is the cheapest power source in the world. That is, if you take into account that cheap fossil fuel sources like coal create additional pollution costs.
It is not easy to calculate the true cost of electricity from a specific source. You have to take into account that taxes, subsidies and special duties all add up to influence prices, including the environmental and health costs. Most people forget to calculate those last variables.
The report states that the least expensive energy sources worldwide are currently wind and solar power. One kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity produced by wind power stations on the coast or in the countryside costs an average of 0.07 euro (about $0.09).
Solar is more expensive, both because of actual production costs and because of the environmental damage done in the name of mining silicon. The report claims that “New solar energy plants in central and southern Europe produce electricity for an average of 0.14 euro per kWh. In Germany, the cost is about 0.18 euro when using rooftop solar panels, while in southern European solar parks it costs about 0.10 euro per kWh.”
Nuclear power costs about 0.20 euro per kWh, as the risk of nuclear meltdown is also calculated into the price. When we talk about the costs of energy from coal, we see that the enormous burden on public health and the environment places an additional cost of 0.09 euro per kWh.
If we must believe the results of this report, electricity generated from wind energy is even cheaper than the additional cost coal powered plants produce by pollution.
Now it’s time to put this report to action, and fee coal plants these additional costs. If we do that, people will reconsider their investment in coal powered power plants and re-invest it in renewable energy sources.