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Reproduced from Lazard; Chart: Axios Visuals

The financial advisory firm Lazard is out with its latest analysis of costs for competing energy technologies, and it says a lot about where the U.S. and global power sectors are heading.

Driving the news: The annual analysis shows continued cost declines for wind and solar, albeit not as dramatic anymore, as the chart above shows.

Why it matters: It underscores how these growing sources, already attractive compared to building new fossil-fueled generation, are increasingly competitive against even existing coal and gas-fired plants.

The big picture: The International Energy Agency's long-term outlook notes that "solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen."

  • More broadly, its most conservative model — which uses only nations' existing and announced policies — sees renewables meeting 80% of global power demand growth over the next decade.

Where it stands: One part of Lazard's analysis looks specifically at how wind and solar fare against existing plants in the U.S. when you include current federal tax credits.

  • With those credits, "the cost of onshore wind and utility-scale solar is competitive with the marginal cost of coal, nuclear and combined cycle gas generation," a summary notes.
  • It's not even close when you compare coal and renewables.
  • The "values average $31/MWh for utility-scale solar and $26/MWh for utility-scale wind, while the latter values average $41/MWh for coal, $29/MWh for nuclear, and $28/MWh for combined cycle gas generation," Lazard notes.

How it works: The annual report looks at the "levelized" costs of power sources — that is, an inclusive cost comparison of building, running, supplying and maintaining different types of facilities over time.

  • However, it doesn't cover some considerations, like new transmission needed and grid integration costs.
  • Renewables' intermittency also means more storage is needed as deployment grows.
  • Lithium-ion batteries dominate the short-duration market, while a number of technologies are competing for a foothold in the younger long-term market, Lazard notes.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
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The intrigue: Texas is increasingly no longer seen as only the oil patch, and it's a fascinating state to watch. That's especially the case at a time when the future of oil demand remains a question mark and more and more countries are vowing new steps on climate — regardless of U.S. policy.

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Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.