Column: Do renewables hold the upper hand against coal in post-coronavirus world? – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – May 14, 2020)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – Proponents of both renewable energy and fossil fuels see opportunities for growth as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, but working out who has the upper hand largely depends on the actions of governments and financiers.

With much of the world still struggling to contain the new coronavirus and economies devastated by lockdowns, so far the only thing that’s clear is that 2020 is going to be a bad year for new investments and projects.

New wind power installations may drop 12% and solar by 8% in 2020 compared with forecasts prior to the coronavirus outbreak, according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The hit comes at a time when renewables were gaining more ground on fossil fuel projects, having been increasingly able to undercut coal- and natural gas-fired power ventures.

Solar and onshore wind are now the cheapest sources of new-build generation for at least two-thirds of the global population, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in an April 28 report, while battery storage is now the most cost-effective source of peaking power.

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