11. Efficient technology: Renewable energies become more competitive
Renewable energy sources are becoming less expensive. In contrast, Germany's expenditure on fossil raw material imports reached 78 bn Euro in 2014. Since the start of the millenium, the sum has reached 911 bn Euro. According to a study by Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) from November 2013, electricity production costs of renewable energies converge with the costs of conventional energies.
Depending on the location and type of photovoltaic systems, their costs range between 8 and 14 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Energy from onshore wind turbines is even less expensive, and can be produced for 5 to 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Offshore wind energy is more expensive. Due to higher installation and operating costs, production costs of offshore wind energy lie between 12 to 19 cents per kWh, according to the Fraunhofer ISE.
The competitiveness of renewable energy as compared to the conventional energy continues to increase. Because of the opening up of new markets and due to technological progress, renewable energy such as wind and solar power become more affordable. Not to mention the fact that renewable energy avoids environmental damage.
Fraunhofer Institute expects that in the future, electricity production costs of solar and wind power plants will be lower than those from fossil fuel plants. Other technologies such as biomass have the advantage of storage capabilities and the ability to produce electricity irrespective of weather conditions.