Study: The costs of clean energy technologies are falling rapidly

The research team at the Mannheim Institute for Sustainable Energy Studies (MISES) has found that continuous improvements to currently available technologies are sufficient to achieve the targeted cost reductions. Technology breakthroughs are therefore not even necessary. The reason for this positive forecast is that the costs for wind and solar systems as well as the production of green hydrogen have in some cases fallen faster than previously assumed, according to the researchers.

Fast expansion as the key to success

“The energy transition is a mammoth task. But we can achieve many of our goals with the existing technologies – provided we expand these technologies quickly and extensively, ”states co-author of the study Rebecca Meier.

Together with economists Stefan Reichelstein and Gunther Glenk, she analyzed the development of the purchase price of solar modules, wind turbines, batteries and electrolysers. On this basis, the researchers examined how the costs of generating clean electricity from solar and wind energy have developed and at what rate the production costs for renewable hydrogen have fallen.

Proven method as a basis

A proven method was used as the basis for the calculation: Theodore Paul Wright’s learning curve concept from 1936. The concept describes the observation that the unit costs of a product often fall by a constant factor each time the cumulative number of items produced is doubled.

“Every installed unit of a clean energy source provides learning experiences that lead to cost reductions for the technology, which in turn lead to further expansion. Such cycles are decisive in driving the speed of the energy transition. However, they have to be triggered by initial investments and must not be slowed down by contrary political measures, ”summarizes Glenk. (amo)

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