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In Morocco wind is now cheaper than coal ……………. even if coal was free

It’s official, wind is now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the world bar none. 

Something that is truly outstanding is happening in Morocco. They reached a new world record low for wind energy costs of $US25/MWh.

That means wind is now cheaper than coal …. even if coal was free.

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How have they achieved such low costs from wind? 

Abderrahim El Hafidi, vice minister of energy and environment, described the result as “extraordinary” and “amazing” and said it pointed to a “real revolution” in the means of producing energy.

“Now, we have wind projects cheaper than coal. The US$25/MWh bid compares to coal which is US$80/MWh.” This means that wind is so much cheaper than coal that even if the cost of the fuel was free, in this case coal, it couldn’t compete.

The low prices that Morocco has achieved have, in part, been possible due to Morocco’s high wind speeds. New Zealand also has one of the best wind resources in the world.  In fact, we have some of the highest production wind farms in the world.

But, if you think New Zealand was a leader in wind energy, think again.  We’re being blown away, at a rapid rate, by some amazing feats being achieved by some very focused countries around the globe.

160415 Wind penetraiton graph

So what’s the difference?  Government policy.

Morocco has a supportive government policy allowing for concessional finance and tax breaks for wind generation.  Sound familiar?  Yes, except New Zealand offers this to oil and gas development to the tune of NZ$45 million per year in exploration grants, not to mention tax incentives.

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In New Zealand, wind gets zero support.  Wind does not require a subsidy in New Zealand to compete with coal, gas or geothermal, however what it should be getting is an even playing field and not have to compete with subsidised fossil fuels.

So in the meantime Kiwis are subsidising oil, gas and geothermal exploration that is fast becoming irrelevant.

Until we catch up in the wind game Kiwis will continue to pay for dirty thermal power from coal, gas and geothermal power plants which supply 36% of New Zealands electricity and still emit, wait for it ……. 4,400,000,000 kgs CO2e per year.   To put that in perspective, that’s equivalent to the emissions of 1.27 million kiwi cars.

Here is a list of where NZ electricity CO2e emissions came from over the last 12 months;
Gas                = 2,100,000,000 kgs
Geothermal    = 720,000,000 kgs
Coal               = 700,000,000 kgs
[Source: EnergyLink]

Yet if New Zealand had a higher penetration of wind generation your electricity bills could be cheaper.

It’s time New Zealand had real policies targeting a 100% renewable future which wholly supports wind and solar development.  So many countries are committing to a 100% Renewable future it’s almost becoming standard procedure.

Until a decade ago, Morocco sourced 98% of its energy needs from fossil fuels. That’s no longer the case as Morocco rapidly moves away from fossil fuels “Isn’t that amazing that we can have confidence in renewable energy for the future of our energy and for the future of the planet,” El Hafidi said. “This is real.”

But there is something you can do about it today.

Take action now and take a couple of minutes to say yes to wind and no to the dirty stuff, it’s time to join Ecotricity.

Ecotricity is 100% Kiwi and 49% Community Owned and is New Zealands ONLY supplier of 100% Certified carboNZero electricity. Ecotricity sources 100% Renewable electricity from wind, hydro and solar.

For more information about Ecotricity price plans check out www.ecotricity.co.nz or check out our video.

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