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International Renewable Energy Agency
June 2012
Volume 1: Power Sector 
Issue 3/5
This paper was prepared by the IRENA Secretariat. The paper beneftted rom an internal IRENAreview, as well as valuable comments and guidance rom Ken Adams (Hydro Manitoba), Eman-uel Branche (EDF), Proessor LIU Heng (International Center on Small Hydropower), Truls Holtedahl(Norconsult AS), Frederic Louis (World Bank), Margaret Mann (NREL), Judith Plummer (Cam-bridge University), Richard Taylor (IHA) and Manuel Welsch (KTH).For urther inormation or to provide eedback, please contact Michael Taylor, IRENA Innovationand Technology Centre, Robert-Schuman-Platz 3, 53175 Bonn, Germany; MTaylor@irena.org.This working paper is available or download rom www.irena.org/Publications
Copyright © IRENA 2012Unless otherwise indicated, material in this publication may be used reely, shared or reprinted,but acknowledgement is requested.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation dedi-cated to renewable energy.In accordance with its Statute, IRENA’s objective is to “promote the widespread and increasedadoption and the sustainable use o all orms o renewable energy”. This concerns all orms oenergy produced rom renewable sources in a sustainable manner and includes bioenergy,geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy.As o May 2012, the membership o IRENA comprised 158 States and the European Union (EU),out o which 94 States and the EU have ratifed the Statute.
The designations employed and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expressionof any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the International Renewable EnergyAgency concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or con-cerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The term “country” as used in this materialalso refers, as appropriate, to territories or areas.
Renewable power generation can help countries meet their sustainable developmentgoals through provision o access to clean, secure, reliable and aordable energy.Renewable energy has gone mainstream, accounting or the majority o capacityadditions in power generation today. Tens o gigawatts o wind, hydropower andsolar photovoltaic capacity are installed worldwide every year in a renewable energymarket that is worth more than a hundred billion USD annually. Other renewable powertechnology markets are also emerging. Recent years have seen dramatic reductions inrenewable energy technologies’ costs as a result o R&D and accelerated deployment.Yet policy-makers are oten not aware o the latest cost data.International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Member Countries have asked orbetter, objective cost data or renewable energy technologies. This working paper aimsto serve that need and is part o a set o fve reports on hydropower, wind, biomass,concentrating solar power and solar pholtovoltaics that address the current costs othese key renewable power technology options. The reports provide valuable insightsinto the current state o deployment, types o technologies available and their costs andperormance. The analysis is based on a range o data sources with the objective odeveloping a uniorm dataset that supports comparison across technologies o dierentcost indicators - equipment, project and levelised cost o electricity – and allows ortechnology and cost trends, as well as their variability to be assessed.The papers are not a detailed fnancial analysis o project economics. However, they doprovide simple, clear metrics based on up-to-date and reliable inormation which can beused to evaluate the costs and perormance o dierent renewable power generationtechnologies. These reports help to inorm the current debate about renewable powergeneration and assist governments and key decision makers to make inormeddecisions on policy and investment.The dataset used in these papers will be augmented over time with new project costdata collected rom IRENA Member Countries. The combined data will be the basis ororthcoming IRENA publications and toolkits to assist countries with renewable energypolicy development and planning. Thereore, we welcome your eedback on the dataand analysis presented in these papers, and we hope that they help you in your policy,planning and investment decisions.
Dolf Gielen
Innovation and Technology

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